News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

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San Elijo JPA water supervisor aims to keep standards high

Mike+Piper+is+the+recycled+water+supervisor+for+the+San+Elijo+Joint+Powers+Authority%2C+%2C+which+produces+recycled+water+for+the+water+districts+that+serve+Encinitas%2C+Solana+Beach%2C+Rancho+Santa+Fe+and+Del+Mar.+%28San+Elijo+JPA+photo%29
Mike Piper is the recycled water supervisor for the San Elijo Joint Powers Authority, , which produces recycled water for the water districts that serve Encinitas, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe and Del Mar. (San Elijo JPA photo)

The card and box of chocolates that recently came to Recycled Water Supervisor Mike Piper were not from his wife, any of his five daughters, or five grandchildren. Instead, they were a sincere gesture from a young utility worker he had mentored.

The worker expressed gratitude for Piper’s guidance and dedication, noting that Piper went above and beyond, even on days off, to help him meet professional standards. Piper said he is pleased to share the knowledge he has gathered during a 21-year career at the San Elijo Joint Powers Authority, which produces recycled water for the water districts that serve Encinitas, Solana Beach, Rancho Santa Fe and Del Mar.

Over the years, Piper has earned multiple certifications and secured a seat on the Board of Directors for the local chapter of the American Backflow Prevention Association. In this role, he helps ensure recycled water and potable water systems never intermingle — Piper performs training and screenings and develops recommendations to regulatory agencies.

North Coast Link logo.As a testing proctor, Piper ensures certification candidates can demonstrate the skills outlined in the USC Manual of Cross-Connection Control, a vital resource in the field.

Piper said he is committed to sharing his extensive knowledge.

“I don’t like to hold back my knowledge,” he said. “I make sure they know what I know.”

Recycled water has come a long way during Piper’s tenure. Used for irrigation and industrial purposes, recycled water is drought-proof and provides an important alternative to potable water.

“Mike has been instrumental in helping us connect new customers to recycled water,” General Manager Mike Thornton said. “He is very knowledgeable, dependable and great at explaining that recycled water is safe and sustainable.”

Looking ahead, San Elijo JPA is expanding its 20-mile network of purple pipe for recycled water, and in 2024, will begin refurbishment of the 3-million-gallon Wanket Reservoir in Encinitas for recycled water storage. And Piper will be assisting new customers with their connection process, emphasizing safety, quality and excellent customer service.

Even during off hours, Piper remains on call 24/7 to mark recycled water and wastewater lines in response to dig alerts. His journey into the water industry started over two decades ago when, while working for Culligan Water, he inquired about a job at the San Elijo Water Campus. Soon after, he joined as an operator.

Beyond his professional life, Piper engages in volunteer work, particularly with the Miracle League of San Diego. Despite his busy schedule, he emphasizes the importance of family life.

“Being a father is the best thing I can do,” he said.


North Coast Link offers nonprofit groups, public agencies and organizations of varying interests the opportunity to share their news by submitting press releases for publication. Send yours to news[at]northcoastcurrent.com.

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