National Public Works Week: Meet Brad Purchase

Q: What is your role with Quinte West, and how long have you been with the City?

A: I started with the City of Quinte West in January 2019. I became the Superintendent of Wastewater Treatment a year later. I came to the city with over eight years of experience in water/wastewater treatment. As the Superintendent of Wastewater Treatment, I am the frontline manager for seven operations staff, five wastewater treatment plants and 17 wastewater lift stations. I am known as the Overall Responsible Operator (ORO), which is required for all municipal services offered from water and wastewater. As the ORO, I mentor and guide my team. In addition, I manage preventative and corrective maintenance for equipment and liaise with the proper regulatory bodies and day-to-day contractors. Our wastewater treatment plants are similar to a manufacturing plant, but instead of products, we process safe clean water. 

Q: What do you like most about your job?

A: There is a pretty diverse responsibility under the umbrella of water and wastewater. Everything we deal with is complex, and we have to look at things from multiple angles, such as environmental impact, safety measures and customer service. I enjoy being a part of the troubleshooting of automation equipment and process issues in our facilities. I’m fortunate to have 11 years of experience in this field, and I have gained several skills that become useful for problem-solving. These issues cause the days to be exciting and challenging.

Q: What’s the most challenging/rewarding part of your job?

A: It was very challenging to start in the role of superintendent just shortly before the beginning of the pandemic. It wasn’t easy balancing the continuity of service while keeping staff safe. However, we have figured out how to do our jobs safely while continuing to serve our residents. On the other hand, it is pretty rewarding being in this role. I get to build relationships with my staff and other city managers. I can rely on my colleagues to pull through on our projects.

Q: How does a person get into a career like yours?

A: To become a superintendent, you need to be licensed through the Ministry of Environment for the area you oversee, such as wastewater treatment, water treatment, water distribution and wastewater collection. These are prerequisites for my role. Besides these licenses, I have diverse education, including a Bachelor of Science with a major in Biology and an Environmental Tech Diploma. I still maintain a close relationship with Loyalist College because I think it’s essential to attract people to this industry. I also have a tech background with a Programmable Logic Controller diploma, which helps in troubleshooting problems.

Q: What is something you wish people knew about your job?

A: A significant portion of my job is public education and outreach. We want to give the general public a better understanding of operations and infrastructure for how things work and run, including what goes into making sure your toilet flushes and sink runs. Know where your water goes! Also, flushable wipes are NOT necessarily flushable. They will flush but can cause major havoc in the background, causing increased maintenance and labour costs due to breakdowns and wear. We want to give the public a better understanding of what we’re doing and what they can be doing to help keep our systems in working condition.

Q: What’s your favourite thing to do/eat/see in Quinte West?

A: Having a young family, we love getting outside to any parks in Quinte West. We especially love Centennial Park and checking out the trails at the local conservation areas. I love to fish on the Bay of Quinte. My wife often asks me to bring home Tomasso’s for dinner and Wannamaker’s for dessert. But you can’t beat a big gold sandwich from Golden Chicken from time to time. Quinte West has done an excellent job developing our waterfront.

Last Updated: 2 years ago

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