Nevada County has tapped Bill Lawrence as its new Environmental Health director.
Lawrence will replace Wesley Nicks, who took a similar position at Placer County in November of last year.
Lawrence acted as the section manager of the Environmental Hazards and Public Health Department for Seattle and King County.
“I’m pleased,” Lawrence said. “I moved down from Seattle after accepting an early retirement. When the opportunity arose, I decided I just love environmental health too much.”
Nevada County Executive Officer Rick Haffey said Lawrence’s extensive experience in the public sector will be an asset to the entire organization.
“We are fortunate to be able to attract such a capable and experienced Environmental Health professional as Bill,” he said.
“He has the ability to be an excellent mentor for our younger employees.”
Lawrence said the first order of business is to get to know his 12-person team and understand the work they are doing.
“It’s a profession where no two days are ever the same,” he said.
“You have issues with air and water quality, land use, public health, animal-borne diseases like hantavirus and West Nile virus. There are accidents, spills and flooding.”
In many ways, the community can be assured Environmental Health is doing its job when it is least visible, Lawrence said.
“We are doing our job when you don’t know we are there,” he said. “If you are drinking safe water, swimming in uncontaminated streams and eating at restaurants that are routinely inspected, then we are doing our jobs.”
Lawrence said he is excited to tackle the particular challenges presented by the unique geography of Nevada County.
“Certainly the whole legacy of mining is an issue,” he said. “There are some warnings on fish consumption, as bass are high on the food chain and bioaccumulate methylmercury. We have to make sure the public knows about that.”
To contact Staff Writer Matthew Renda, email firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-477-4239.