August 2017

OCWD Board Members


Denis R. Bilodeau, P.E.

First Vice President

 Philip L. Anthony

Second Vice President

Shawn Dewane 

Cathy Green
Dina L. Nguyen, ESQ.
Vicente Sarmiento
Stephen R. Sheldon
James Vanderbilt
Bruce Whitaker
Roger C. Yoh, P.E.

General Manager

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

In This Issue:


President’s Message—OCWD Right to Protect Groundwater Basin from Contamination is Affirmed

August is National Water Quality Month, a time that reminds us to protect our drinking water, which sustains life, and to emphasize the importance of water quality, which relates to our health. Management of the Orange County Groundwater Basin, ensuring its reliability and quality, is one of the most important mandates given to the Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) at its inception.

In honor of the month, the District has created a short water quality video for your viewing pleasure:

We have been giving updates about the cleanup progress in the North Basin. This month, I have some good news about efforts in the South Basin.   Read More…

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Denis R. Bilodeau, P.E.




O.C. Water Briefing Featured State Water Resources Control Board Members

State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) Chair Felicia Marcus and Member E. Joaquin Esquivel were guest speakers at the Water Briefing and Brunch held Aug. 23 at the Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District). The event was hosted by OCWD, Irvine Ranch Water District, Moulton Niguel Water District, and Santa Margarita Water District. Read More…

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Agencies Collaborate on Federal Funding for Critical Water Supply Project

The Orange County Sanitation District’s (OCSD) water recycling project qualified for funding eligibility from the United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) Title XVI under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act. One of 38 projects to qualify for this competitive funding, the project’s end goal is to increase the amount of water sent to the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS), a joint effort of OCSD and the Orange County Water District (OCWD) and the world’s largest water reuse facility of its kind. Read More…

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Groundwater Adventure Tour Sign Ups Begin Sept. 1

Have you ever wanted to go behind the scenes to see how the Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) provides your water? The Groundwater Adventure Tour, a day-long exploration of Orange County Water District and Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) facilities in Fountain Valley, Anaheim and Riverside will take place Oct. 26, 2017. Registration for a limited number of reservations begins Sept. 1. This unique opportunity features all facets of the District’s operations, including the GWRS, Advanced Water Quality Assurance Laboratory, H2O Learning Center, Anaheim recharge facilities, and Prado Wetlands. The tour is free and includes bus transportation and lunch. Priority is given to new attendees. Please visit the Groundwater Adventure Tour site for registration updates. Contact Crystal Nettles, 714-378-3202 or for additional information.

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Silt Removal Testing Shows Promise to Maximize Percolation Rates in Recharge Basins 

On a daily basis, the Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) replaces water that is pumped from the Orange County Groundwater Basin through a complex system of surface water recharge basins that look much like large ponds or lakes.  The recharge system covers over 1,500 acres in the cities of Orange and Anaheim, which have favorable geologic conditions, particularly large quantities of sand and gravel, that allow for efficient percolation of water into the underlying aquifer.  

The recharge system supplies more than 80 percent of the water to the groundwater basin.  In turn, the groundwater basin supplies 75 percent of the water needs for north and central Orange County.

The primary source of recharge water is the Santa Ana River, the longest river in Southern California.  Santa Ana River flows are generally comprised of treated wastewater discharged from upstream sewage treatment plants and seasonal storm flows.  

During periods of heavy rainfall, high volumes of storm flow in the Santa Ana River may exceed OCWD’s recharge capacity and discharge to the Pacific Ocean.  One of the key challenges to capturing and recharging storm flows is clogging of the recharge system. Read More…

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AAEES Asks: Are We Ready for Direct Potable Reuse?

After decades of indirect potable reuse (IPR), are we ready for the next step: direct potable reuse (DPR)? That’s the question posed by the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (AAEES) at its 2017 AAEES Annual West Coast Event to be held Thursday, Oct. 12 at the Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD) in Fountain Valley. To register, visit For additional information, contact Yolanda Moulden via email: Read More…

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Water and Waste: Reduce and Reuse is World Water Week Theme Aug. 27- Sept. 1, 2017

World Water Week, one of the leading international annual meetings on water and development issues, will be held in Stockholm from Aug. 27 through Sept. 1.  This year’s theme, Water and Waste: Reduce and Reuse, is a holistic system perspective that addresses issues and challenges by engaging all water-dependent sectors, particularly food and energy. The theme will cover the entire geographical range: upstream to downstream—from source to sea—and both rural and urban.

Orange County Water District General Manager Mike Markus will be a participant, speaking on two panels: Launch Water Security Journal: Panel discussion on sanitation and health; and Water Scarce Cities: Towards urban water security under scarcity.

For additional information, read their Call for Engagement and register online. 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 local community and greater water industry and to be transparent about its operations and programs, OCWD board members and staff speak regularly before groups and at events.  We participated in the following during July:

  • •     OCWD President Denis Bilodeau, General Manager Mike Markus and Legislative Affairs Liaison Alicia Dunkin met with Congressman Ed Royce to provide an update about North Basin and other District projects.
  • •     Director Vicente Sarmiento presented Water Hero t-shirts to students in the Summer Active Learning Program at the Delhi Center in Santa Ana. The students in the Magical Math and Musical Theater Summer Camp performed A Bug’s Life. At the end of the performance, Director Sarmiento spoke to the participants and audience about the O.C. Water Hero conservation program.
  • •     Director Bruce Whitaker distributed O.C. Water Hero t-shirts at the Fullerton City Hall open house.

Read More…
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OCWD in the News

OCWD continues to be recognized for its leadership in the water industry.  Below are a few of the District’s recent media highlights that feature OCWD and the GWRS:

Papers and Publications

Ken Ishida co-authored a research paper published in the journal Water Research, titled “Role of membrane fouling substances on the rejection of N-nitrosamines by reverse osmosis.” The project was led by researchers at Nagasaki University, Kagoshima University (Japan), and other institutions and universities in Japan and Australia.

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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.



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Upcoming Events

August 25 : noon Property Management Committee Meeting (C-2)

September 1: 7:30 a.m. Water Advisory Committee of Orange County (WACO) (Boardroom)

September 4: HOLIDAY

September 6: 5:30 p.m. Board of Directors Meeting (Boardroom)

September 7: 8:00 a.m. Communications/Legislative Committee Meeting (C-2)

September 13: 8:00 a.m. Water Issues Committee Meeting (Boardroom)

September 14: 8:00 a.m. Admin/Finance Committee Meeting (C-2)

September 20: 5:30 p.m. Board of Directors Meeting (Boardroom)

September 22:  noon Property Management Committee Meeting (C-2)

September 25:  9:00 a.m. Retirement Meeting (C-2)

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July Tours


Thank you to the more than 300 guests who toured OCWD’s facilities in July:

Guests included students from Orange Coast College, Chapman University, St. Paul's Lutheran School, and Stepping Up College Awareness Program; Cal State Fullerton nursing program; members of the Huntington Beach Unified High School District Adult Transition Program, International Water Association, American Chemistry Council/Water Quality & Health Council, Orange County Health Care Agency, IDE Technologies, and Calvary Chapel, Fullerton; representatives of the European Commission’s Joint Research Center, Istanbul Water Authority, Viet Ecology Foundation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; and members 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, request more information or schedule a speaker, please visit

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