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SD1 News Flash

Posted on: January 4, 2022

Staff Spotlight: Lisa Baskin, Senior Lab Analyst

Lisa Baskin

Meet Lisa Baskin, SD1’s Senior Lab Analyst. Lisa and the lab team analyze over 54,000 tests of wastewater and stream samples every year to help SD1 provide reliable wastewater and storm water services in the Northern Kentucky region. 

Lisa, why did you choose to work at SD1?

My first associate's degree is in mechanical engineering. I was a co-op in that field for a year before I realized I liked my science and math classes more and added chemical technologies as my second degree. I started as a co-op at SD1 in 2003 and got hired full-time in 2005. I quickly realized that I was at home and have been here ever since.

How would you describe your current role?

I run detailed sample analyses, take care of lab purchasing and inventory and have a major role in the lab’s co-op program. It’s my job to ensure SD1 has all the chemicals and consumables we need to collect and analyze a variety of samples for internal and external customers, run the samples and log them into our data system. 

How does your role in the SD1 lab improve local water quality? 

Our data helps SD1 detect and foresee problems before they significantly affect local water quality. For this reason, the lab has been described as the eyes and ears of the treatment plant. Our daily analyses on permit and process control samples help SD1 know if the plant is working as efficiently as possible. 

For example, our operators need to know if they're cultivating the right strands of helpful bacteria to remove harmful bacteria in the wastewater treatment process. If there’s a problem, we can inform operations so they can fix the issue before it reaches our waterways. 

What advice do you have for those interested in this field? 

I’ve trained and guided over 20 co-ops since I’ve been here. My advice for them and anyone else pursuing a job in a lab is to pay attention to technical writing, lab safety and reading comprehension. Details matter, especially in lab work. You have to pay attention to what you're doing. Repetition is key. Doing something over and over and over again is how you get better and how you grow. A complicated task may be overwhelming at first, but the more you're involved in it, the easier it becomes. 

What do you like to do outside of SD1?

I like to read science-fiction and thriller novels and listen to music. I also have custody of my younger brother who is autistic. He’s obsessed with toys, so talking with him about his favorite toys and cartoons is also my favorite thing. His joy is infectious.

What is your favorite thing about working at SD1?

Everyone says the same thing, but it’s true- it’s the people! 

Learn more about Lisa in the latest edition of SD1 Staff Spotlight.

Did you know?

The lab is an essential part of SD1’s daily operations. Here are a few ways SD1 uses the lab to help serve the community: 

  • Operations uses lab data to determine any necessary adjustments to the wastewater system  
  • Industrial pretreatment runs samples from local industries to ensure users are not putting anything down the drain that could derail the wastewater treatment process 
  • Water resources gather and test water samples from streams in Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties to gauge water quality 
  • The illicit discharge group uses the lab to detect where a potentially harmful discharge is coming from

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