OCWD Employees — 2020 Employee of the 3rd Quarter

Principal Engineer Tim Sovich is the 2020 Employee of the Third 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 are being completed by OCWD staff or its consultants and of these, two are being done for outside organizations— the Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority (SAWPA) and the U.S. Navy.

Groundwater modeling takes an understanding of the aquifer system and represents it as a 3-D matrix of interconnected grid cells with flow inputs/outputs and different properties like permeability – all very complicated.

Over his 30+ years at OCWD, Tim has developed the most detailed understanding of the Orange County Groundwater Basin of anyone at the District. 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 Marine Corps air Station El Toro trichloroethlylene plume cleanup (Navy), North Basin volatile organic compound 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 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.

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 has expressed admiration for Tim’s professional approach and demeanor.

In a constructive and diplomatic way, Tim provided excellent input to the model’s development. In addition, participation required his driving to many meetings in San Bernardino prior to COVID-19 restrictions, which was an additional work load for Tim, while he completed his regular assignments.

Tim is a sought-after expert and has gone above and beyond his normal duties, illustrating his dedication to his team, the District and the many communities OCWD serves. Congratulations Tim!