Hydrospectives September 2015

OCWD Board of Directors

Cathy Green

First Vice President
Denis R. Bilodeau, P.E.

Second Vice President
Philip L. Anthony

Shawn Dewane
Jan M. Flory, ESQ.
Dina L. Nguyen, ESQ.
Roman Reyna
Stephen R. Sheldon
Harry S. Sidhu, P.E.
Roger C. Yoh, P.E.

General Manager
Michael R. Markus
P.E., D.WRE.


President's Message – Ocean Desalination Project Update

Directory Cathy GreenAccording to the U.S. Drought Monitor, California is in an exceptional drought: "Exceptional or widespread crop/pasture loss; a shortage of water in reservoirs and streams creating a water emergency." This is the definition of "exceptional drought" by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

A wet winter is anticipated because of forecasts of an El Niño, which is an above normal surface temperature in the southeast Pacific. El Niño refers to the Christ child because it often occurs at Christmas or midwinter. Forecasts* through October show that the drought will not only persist, it will intensify. Despite a wet winter, there will not be enough rain to make up for the four years of drought California has sustained.

Even without a drought, California has an ever-increasing demand for water due to growth in population, agriculture and industry. Read More...

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EPA to Manage North Basin Contamination Cleanup

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has assumed lead responsibility for the cleanup of contamination impacting the northern region of the Orange County Groundwater Basin. The Orange County Water District (OCWD) supports this effort and will provide assistance to the EPA as needed.Slide-size 2013 ShallowPrincipal VOC w prod well locations

The EPA’s action is expected to significantly enhance efforts to remove toxic chemicals from this important source of water to Orange County. Ensuring we can utilize all of the water from a fully functional groundwater basin not only protects public health, but also ensures the long-term economic viability of all of Orange County. Read More…

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GWRS Receives CASA Award

The award-winning Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS), a joint project of the Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD) and the Orange County Water District (OCWD), recently received the California Association of Sanitation Agencies (CASA) Achievement Award. The two agencies have partnered on water recycling projects for more than 40 years increasing water reliability in the region. Agency representatives along with consulting engineer firm Black & Veatch were on-hand to receive the award, which was presented at CASA’s 60th annual conference held on Thursday, August 20 in San Diego. Read More

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Board members and general managers from OCWD and OCSD accept the CASA Achievement Award at the Sept. 16 OCWD Board Meeting

Board members and general managers from OCWD and OCSD accept the CASA Achievement Award at the Sept. 16 OCWD Board Meeting


Study Spurs Solution to Arsenic Release

A recent Stanford University study of the Orange County Groundwater Basin has determined that thehighly-purified water of the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS), which is percolated into shallow aquifers, can release natural arsenic from sediments.

“This poses a challenge to maintaining our groundwater quality and requires special treatment,” says Jason Dadakis, OCWD director of health and regulatory affairs.  He is also a study co-author. Read More…

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OCWD GM Named to WaterWorld’s Top 25

Mike MarkusWaterWorld magazine has recently celebrated the water industry’s 25 “high fliers”, including OCWD General Manager Mike Markus who came in an impressive #4 in the standing. Markus joined OCWD in 1988, overseeing construction of many water facilities. In 2002 he was tasked with managing the construction of the $481 million Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) and in 2008, he was named OCWD’s general manager. Under his leadership, he has helped OCWD pave the way for public acceptance of water recycling for indirect potable use, replicated in countries such as Australia and Singapore. The GWRS has won 40 awards, including the Stockholm 2008 Industry Award and Lee Kuan Yew Prize 2014.

WaterWorld’s honorees are chosen from among global water/wastewater industry innovators and thought leaders. Recipients have and do include Nobel Laureates, water reuse pioneers and engineers who have grown billion dollar businesses in less than a decade, among others.

For a close look at the top 25, please visit WaterWorld magazine online.

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Director Bilodeau Testifies in D.C.

Denis BilodeauOCWD 1st Vice President Denis Bilodeau had the privilege of recently testifying before the House of Foreign Affairs subcommittee regarding global water issues.

He joined John Oldfield, CEO, WASH Advocates and Dale Whittington, professor, University of North Carolina to present before the Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations and Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats Subcommittees on Sept. 9. The hearing focused on discussing water from the point of view of human security as access to clean water and natural resources may spark conflict in the future. Read More…

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Managing State Groundwater

GW cover measuring what mattersAmid dwindling water resources and threats of lands collapsing due to over pumping, the California Legislature passed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act in 2014.  It requires local groundwater agencies to form groundwater sustainability agencies and to publish plans that include measurable objectives to achieve sustainable groundwater management.  The challenge faced by the Department of Water Resources in developing regulations on measurable objectives is to be definitive without being restrictive and to allow for local flexibility. 

A new Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) report provides important input on establishing measurable objectives.  Its report,  “Measuring What Matters: Setting Measurable Objectives to Achieve Sustainable Groundwater Management in California”, suggests methods to effectively manage the state’s groundwater. It recommends that local agencies use common metrics and reporting guidelines so the state can ensure that groundwater withdrawals do not exceed supply. Read More…

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Out in the Community

As part of its standard to forge and maintain long-term, positive and proactive relationships with members of the community and be transparent about its operations and programs, OCWD board members and staff participate, regularly, at community events and speak before civic groups.  We participated in the following during August:

  • Principal Engineer Sandy Scott-Roberts was part of a Chapman University NSF-REU Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows—Earth and Environmental Sciences (SURFEES) roundtable discussing OCWD and career opportunities.

  • General Manager Mike Markus presented information about the GWRS at the Loyola Marymount University Water Forum.
  • Public Affairs Specialist Crystal Nettles brought GWRS water to participate in the Oasis Water Challenge, a taste-test which was part of FYF Fest 2015. The event was sponsored by Global Inheritance.

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Crystal Nettles with GWRS Water at Oasis Water Challenge

Crystal Nettles with GWRS Water at Oasis Water Challenge


OCWD in the News

OCWD continues to be recognized for its leadership in the water industry.  Below are a few of the recent media highlights:

  • The American Membrane Technology Association printed an article in its newest quarterly newsletter titled, “Optimizing Reverse Osmosis Pretreatment Chemicals in Orange County’s Groundwater Replenishment System.” Executive Director of Operations Bill Dunivin, Director of Water Production Mehul Patel, Principal Process Specialist Tom Knoell, and Intern Raul Gonzalez contributed to writing the article.

  • Chief Hydrogeologist Roy Herndon and OCWD were mentioned in a My Paper (A Singapore Press Holdings Publication) article titled “Study on S'pore's water risks 'wrong'” about Singapore’s water management.

  • President Cathy Green was interviewed for a segment on ABC 7 titledOC Water District considers desalination plant in Huntington Beach.”

    Read More…

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OCWD Employees

OCWD’s employees are its most valuable resources. It is committed to recruiting the best and enriching their lives to grow within the water industry and the District family.

Jeanie Amezcua, Hydrogeology Intern, Hydrogeology

Jeanie Amezcua, Hydrogeology Intern, Hydrogeology

Philip Jacobs, Plant Operator I, Water Production

Philip Jacobs, Plant Operator I, Water Production


August Tours

OCWD and OCSD were proud to host a delegation from the Singapore Public Utilities Board (PUB). The two American agencies and Singapore have been collaborating for nearly 15 years, resulting in better efficiencies and public acceptance of water reuse projects around the world. Special guests of tour included Chief Executive Peter Ng ; Chief Technology Officer Harry Seah; Senior Planning Officer, Policy & Planning Harold Khoo; Principal Engineer, Water Reclamation Winson Lay; Senior Engineer, Technology Dept. Roderick Sih; and Assistant Director, Industry Development Shengwei Yeo.

Thank you to the more than one hundred additional guests that toured OCWD’s facilities in August:

Students from the CSU, Fullerton Nursing Program at OCWDStudents from the CSU, Fullerton Nursing Program; University of California, Irvine Exchange Program; CSU Exchange Program; UC Riverside; staff from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and State Water Resources Control Board; and members of a Korean Delegation, YTN TV Korea and those of the general public.

Public tours of the Groundwater Replenishment System are offered at 10 a.m. on the first Friday of every month; reservations are required. Tours may be scheduled for other days of the week, depending on staff availability. To schedule a tour or to request more information, please contact Becky Mudd at (714) 378-3362 or bmudd@ocwd.com. To schedule a speaker, please contact Rose Wilke at (714) 378-3206 or rwilke@ocwd.com. You may also visit www.gwrsystem.com to schedule these activities online.

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Fountain Valley, CA 92708

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