Brady Linden, City of Yakima

linden, brady

If you had asked then-college student, Brady Linden where he thought he would be after graduation, his response likely would not have included the words “wastewater”, “sewer,” or “biosolids.” 

Brady earned his BS in Environmental Geology from Central Washington University and his plan was to pursue a job in that field of work.

Life, however, is unpredictable. One day an opportunity comes knocking at your door and, all of a sudden, your life is headed in a completely different direction. Brady found himself in that situation in 2011, when the City of Yakima hired him as a wastewater treatment plant operator-in-training. Fast forward to 2020 and Brady is now the chief operator of the City of Yakima’s solids handling program. 

Meet Brady Linden, the once aspiring geologist who now uses his expertise and experience in wastewater to operate a plant that serves the City of Yakima, Union Gap, Terrace Heights, and Moxee areas and produces around 6000 wet tons of biosolids a year. Their wastewater treatment facility uses Alfa Laval centrifuges to dewater their sludge and Natural Selections Farms hauls and land applies their Class B biosolids product. 

yakima wwtp
City of Yakima Wastewater Treatment Plant
biosolids hauling
Loading Yakima's biosolids for delivery to Natural Selection Farms

Responses have been edited for clarity and abridged for length. 

Who did you learn the most from over your career?  
Coming up through the ranks as an operator, I would have to say that I learned a lot from senior operators.  I was fortunate enough to gain valuable knowledge from some operators that were getting ready to retire after 30 plus year careers.     

What has changed the most over your career in biosolids management? 
Over my career, the biggest change has been in the loss of experienced professionals in the biosolids and wastewater fields.  I can appreciate the amount of knowledge that is leaving the workforce and going into retirement.  I want to make sure that I learn everything I can and prepare for the time I’m the one people come to when they need questions answered.   

What makes you inspired to keep working in the biosolids world? Why does this matter to you? 
I hope that one day, people will view biosolids in a more positive light and understand that it is a valuable product when processed and utilized in the correct way.  Breaking down stigmas and becoming a society focused on reuse of all of our waste is something that I really think is important.  That’s why I’m glad to be a part of the biosolids world and it makes me feel that I’m doing something that is beneficial for people and the environment.      

What’s your dream job (in or out of the biosolids world)?  
I’m pretty happy with where I’m currently at and definitely think I’ve found a field of work that I could stay in for the rest of my career.  If I ever do leave, farming is definitely at the top of my list.

If Brady ever tires of working for a municipality, he can always pursue his dream of farming using all his knowledge about biosolids to his advantage.  I can see him growing hops in the Yakima Valley advertising Brady’s autumn porter ale, “Harvest Doo.”