Phuong Lam, Senior Chemist

The Orange County Water District is very pleased to announce that Phuong Lam, Senior Chemist is the 2022 Employee of the Third Quarter.

Always a dependable member of the Inorganic lab section, Phuong has stepped up and taken on greater responsibilities and workload due to the unexpected departure of three colleagues over less than a month.  Highlights include:

Updating the lab’s test procedure for Hydrogen Peroxide analysis to the new, more efficient and streamlined Vacu-Vial method, including extensive parallel testing and method verification and re-writing of the labs Standard Operating Procedure. The new procedure validated by Phuong will reduce the amount of time spent working this method by over 80%, going from a 6-hour long procedure down to just 1 hour.

Taking over trace metals analysis by ICP-MS, arguably the inorganic lab’s most complex method, during a time of heavy workload in August for annual monitoring of the Prado Wetland and upper watershed sites. This included additional work to analyze and calculate Method Detection Limits for two new metals sample preparation methods in addition to the continuing digestion protocol. This work was complicated by the need for her to troubleshoot issues with low-level contamination of several elements which cropped up at the same time.

Making time to train a temporary contract employee on the pH/EC/alkalinity autotitrator system, including mentoring, answering questions, and making suggestions for improving results. She regularly followed up to make sure analytical data was properly produced at the lab’s high-quality standard and within expected turnaround times.

Phuong is one the lab’s most conscientious employees, to whom we would not hesitate to assign the most exacting methods. In addition to her attention to detail, we rely on her to coach newer staff members and assist them in troubleshooting issues with data or performing instrument maintenance. As part of our Senior Chemist requirements, she is also tasked with temporarily covering Supervising Chemist duties from time to time. Phuong is truly committed to her support of her teammates and senior management within the lab.

Congratulations, Phuong!