Tim Sovich - Principal Engineer

Tim Sovich is the third quarter Employee of the Quarter

Over the last year, Tim has been heavily involved as a technical advisor and reviewer for several “numerical” (computer) groundwater flow modeling projects, three of which are being done by OCWD staff or consultants, and two which are being done for outside organizations (SAWPA and the Navy). Groundwater modeling is essentially taking your understanding of the aquifer system and representing it by a 3-D matrix of interconnected grid cells with flow inputs/outputs and different properties like permeability – very complicated.

Over his 30+ years at OCWD, Tim has developed the most detailed understanding of the Orange County groundwater basin of anyone at OCWD. This knowledge has proven invaluable in educating OCWD staff and consultants who are performing studies and developing flow models for specific purposes, e.g., controlling seawater intrusion in the Alamitos and Sunset Gaps, controlling contaminant plumes in the North Basin area, and evaluating flow paths of recycled water from the new mid-basin injection wells. Tim sinks his teeth into each project and does his own research to make sure that the insight he provides is backed by actual data, and then he explains his interpretations in detail. Modeling projects that he has recently worked on include: Extension of the Alamitos model into Sunset Gap (seawater intrusion), former MCAS El Toro TCE plume cleanup (Navy), North Basin VOC plume remediation, mid-basin injection flow path analysis, basin-wide model extended calibration, and the integrated upper Santa Ana River model highlighted below:

Tim provided peer review of computer modeling of river and groundwater flow in the upper Santa Ana Watershed. Development of the computer model of river and groundwater flow involved complicated technical issues. Tim has an excellent understanding of these technical issues through his academic training and many years of experience with model development. In a constructive and diplomatic way, Tim provided excellent input to development of the model.

The review of the computer model of river and groundwater flow in the upper watershed involved participating with multiple agencies, including water districts and the United States Geological Survey. Staff at these agencies have gained great respect for Tim based on his technical recommendations on model development. Additionally, the agencies’ staff have expressed admiration for Tim’s professional approach and demeanor.

Prior to the COVID-19 restriction, participating in this work involved driving to many meetings in San Bernardino. The assignment to participate in the upper watershed model review was an additional work load that Tim has participated in while also completing other assignments.

Congratulations Tim!