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Meet Leon Chen


Trade Waste Technical Officer.

Job description: 

Consenting, monitoring and enforcement for trade waste discharges.

Work background: 

Been in the wastewater industry for 12 years since graduation from uni. Mostly look after the industrial sites for their wastewater discharge.

Favourite part of job: 

Get to talk to all sorts of industries/businesses and people.

Least favourite part of job: 

Seeing less and less industrial sites in Wellington.

What I am working on now: 

Research on the mechanical grease traps - studying their performance and reliability compared to a traditional passive grease traps.

A quick story about a job well done: 

We found a car wash, which belongs to a service station, had significant amounts of hydrocarbon in their wastewater line. It poses a great health and safety risk to the workers and system. After some tests, we realized it was due to drain pipes from the forecourt had been incorrectly connected. The owner was then notified and the problem was solved.

A (humorous) story about a job that went badly and what you learned: 

I was once asked to look at a pump station in town that always has a blocking issue. Everybody believes it was due to fat build up from the restaurants in its catchment and that was why I was involved. After going through pretty much all the food premises, I didn’t see any real issue in the area so I decided to go into the pump station to have a look with the technician. It turned out fat/grease was only a small part of the issue. The main thing that blocked the pumps was the thick paper towels that don't break down easily. It’s true that fat/grease causes blockages, but not all blockages come from fat/grease.


Batchelor and Postgraduate Diploma in Environmental Engineering.

Interests outside work: 

Photography, reading, gaming.

Leon Chen is the Trade Waste Technical Officer for Wellington Water. Image: WWL.