As a Padre Dam Engineer, Wilson Lau is tasked with overseeing the concept, design and construction of vital water and wastewater infrastructure. Every pipe, pump station, reservoir and pressure reducing station in Padre Dam's service area was imagined and designed by an Engineer like Wilson. These elements work together in a complex balancing act of pressures and flows to bring customers safe, clean drinking water and collect and dispose of wastewater.
Wilson manages Capital Improvement Projects, which are vital to keeping District services functioning. Pipes and pumps, like everything else, have a lifespan. Once that lifespan has been reached, District engineers must assess the condition of the materials to ensure that they can continue to work properly. Some of Padre Dam's infrastructure has been reliably serving customers for decades. It is necessary to replace old and worn out infrastructure to avoid main breaks, equipment failure and other service disruptions.
"I enjoy this job because I get to work for the people," Wilson said. "At the end of the day, our job is not to make a profit, our reward is keeping the community safe and functioning."
Currently, Wilson is managing three Capital Improvement Projects. One project is assessing the condition of an almost five decade old sewer pipeline to ensure that it can continue functioning properly. He is also working on the construction of a new pipeline to replace a deteriorating one, and a project to modernize the outdated electrical components of several of the District's pump stations. These improvements will build off of work by generations of Padre Dam engineers to keep the system running for decades to come.
Wilson became interested in working in water and wastewater in college while he was studying environmental sciences. He became curious about finding practical solutions to the issues that he was studying, and a professor recommended that he follow his curiosity and pursue civil engineering.
"Water is fascinating!" Wilson said. "There is so much science behind it. Not only physics, but chemistry and biology as well. The complexity of water systems intrigues me."
Wilson is always quick with a smile for his coworkers and eager to lend a hand. When he is not at his desk, Wilson enjoys hiking and visiting his family in Los Angeles. He is looking forward to traveling again once it is safe.