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ESD Extra: Meet Inspector Brandon Massey
After serving aboard a nuclear submarine for the U.S. Navy, Brandon Massey had his fill of cramped spaces and decided to spend the rest of his career working outside as much as possible.
He enrolled at Western Washington University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental science. He joined the San José Environmental Services Department in 2013.
These days he gets plenty of fresh air and sunshine as an environmental inspector with ESD’s Watershed Protection Division.
Brandon is part of a five-person team that inspects more than 450 sites in San José that feature about 3,000 green stormwater infrastructure measures to make sure they are properly maintained.
Green stormwater infrastructure uses natural systems to treat and filter stormwater, preventing pollution from reaching San José creeks and rivers and flowing to San Francisco Bay. Examples of GSI include rain gardens, permeable pavers and green roofs.
These natural devices are becoming more and more common – in San José, they are now required in many large development and redevelopment projects. The City has developed a comprehensive Green Stormwater Infrastructure Plan to guide the implementation of GSI measures. Watershed Protection staff also led the creation of a Green Stormwater Infrastructure Maintenance Field Guide to help property owners and managers properly maintain GSI measures.
Brandon and his fellow inspectors have learned a lot since their team was formed two years ago, from the right mix of plants, mulch and soil to keep GSI measures functioning properly to how the devices are engineered to ensure that water flows into them and infiltrates the soil.
Members of the team are now resources for property owners and managers.
“One of the things I really enjoy about being an inspector,” Brandon said, “is talking to people and helping them understand the importance of these systems and how to maintain them well.”
For Brandon, working on GSI has allowed him to tap into his educational background. One of his concentrations at Western Washington was landscape ecology.
“I enjoy plants and gardening,” he said, “so it was a chance to combine my job with some of my personal interests.”
He also enjoys the camaraderie of working on a close-knit team and the rewarding feeling of protecting the environment.
“It’s a great group of people who are passionate about what we do and have a wide range of skills,” he said. “I believe in what I do: trying to limit the impact of our urban environment on the surrounding natural environment.”
Green stormwater infrastructure has many benefits, including:
- Improved air and water quality
- Reduced flooding
- Neighborhood beautification
- Climate resiliency
- Improved wildlife habitat