Michael Raymond Plaziak, a water program expert and geologist with a wide range of experience in water issues in both the military and public sector, has been appointed executive officer of the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board.
Plaziak, who has been serving as acting executive officer, stepped into his new role Dec. 14.
He replaces former long-time executive officer Patty Kouyoumdjian, who retired on Aug. 21.
As executive officer, Plaziak will lead a staff of 75 that oversees a vast region spanning starkly different landscapes – from the alpine settings of Lassen County and Lake Tahoe Area to the desert expanses of the Mojave Desert in San Bernardino County.
“The board is very pleased that Mike will serve as executive officer,” said Peter Pumphrey, chair of the board in a press release. “He brings a history of outstanding service to our region and we appreciate his work as Acting Executive Officer over the last several months. We are confident he will do an excellent job leading his dedicated staff and protecting water quality in our region.”
Plaziak, a native of Maine, initially began his career with the Lahontan board in 1995 as an engineering geologist.
Plaziak served in that role for six years and oversaw regulatory oversight of petroleum groundwater cases, site investigations of Trichloroethylene in groundwater at Department of Defense facilities and served as State representative on the Mountain Pass Mine multi-agency cleanup action.
From 2007 to 2016, Plaziak supervised a team of 25 civil engineers, geologists and clerical staff in implementation of the Clean Water Act and state water regulations in the South Lahontan basin.
In June 2020, he was appointed the region’s assistant executive officer.
A registered geologist and retired Marine officer, Plaziak earned his M.S. in Geologic Sciences from San Diego State University.
Plaziak has served as Staff Hydrogeologist for the military, both in Africa and in Afghanistan. In Africa, he provided hydrogeologic support to military well-drilling personnel in Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Kenya.
In Afghanistan, Plaziak planned and conducted surveys of the Helmand River and the region’s floodplain aquifer, while developing a water resource strategy to transition the region away from illicit crop production.
Plaziak’s experience includes working as a public water system inspection supervisor for the state of Maine, where he led a team of eight responsible for providing regulatory oversight of over 1,700 small water systems throughout the state.