December 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 — Water Recycling Project Receives Prop. 1 Funding

Competitive Proposition 1 funding in the amount of $9.1 million will go toward a critical Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) water recycling project, the Mid Basin Centennial Park Injection (MBI) Project. The project will provide multiple water recycling benefits to the Orange County region while also addressing statewide priorities.

The 2.5 year MBI Project will inject purified water from OCWD’s Groundwater Replenishment System into the principal aquifer of the Orange County Groundwater Basin, providing an additional source of water to replenish it. The basin, managed by OCWD, provides 75 percent of the water supply for 2.5 million people in north and central Orange County. The project construction is taking place in the Santa Ana region of the Orange County Groundwater Basin and is expected to be completed in 2019. It will provide six to 10 million gallons per day of water to fill the groundwater basin, enough water for up to 85,000 people. Read More…

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Denis R. Bilodeau, P.E.




OCWD Honors Legacy of Former GM Neil Cline

The Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) mourns the loss of former General Manager Neil Cline who served the District for more than 13 years from 1973 to 1986. Cline led the District in the construction and implementation of the first project in the world to use reverse osmosis technologies to treat wastewater to drinking water standards. This revolutionary project was called Water Factory 21 and is the predecessor to OCWD’s current globally renowned project, the Groundwater Replenishment System.

Neil Cline was the third general manager in the District’s history. He succeeded Don Owen who hired Cline. Cline’s previous position was as a geologist for the California Department of Water Resources in the Delta Planning Division. He and Owen worked there together for a time and Cline gained extensive knowledge about the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. Water Factory 21 was brought online under Cline’s leadership, but it truly was Owen and Cline who were responsible for spearheading this innovative project.  Read More…

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GWRS Bottled Water Efforts Garner One Planet Award

The Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) California Bottled Water Campaign Launch received a One Planet Best in Business and Professional Excellence Silver Award for Product or Service Launch of the Year. The Orange County Water District (OCWD), Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD) and Dick Jones Communications collaborated on the launch.

The One Planet Awards is a premier awards program honoring best in business and professional excellence in every industry from around the world. Read More…

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OCWD Partners with U.S. Navy to Combat Seawater Intrusion

The Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) is partnering with the United States Navy to combat seawater intrusion in the Orange County Groundwater Basin. Saltwater from the Pacific Ocean is the biggest threat to the basin and it is progressively migrating inland displacing freshwater in the regional aquifer.  Left unchecked, the intrusion will continue to reduce the capacity of the basin which provides about 75 percent of the regional potable water supply.

Since 2010 the District has been investigating the nature and extent of seawater intrusion in the Sunset Gap area beneath the Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach.  Investigations to date include an initial geophysical survey, construction and sampling of seven multi-depth monitoring wells, and preparation of nine geologic cross-sections.  Throughout OCWD’s investigations, the Navy has supported the installation of new wells at the Naval Weapons Station to provide necessary monitoring data and improve the effectiveness of future projects to protect the basin. Read More…

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Update on OCWD Groundwater Cleanup Efforts

On Friday, December 8, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Administrator Scott Pruitt’s decision to list 21 polluted sites for immediate action under Superfund. The proposed list includes the North Basin Groundwater site located in Fullerton, Anaheim and Placentia. EPA’s statement is available at

This is a preliminary decision.  Formal proposal for the National Priority List (NPL) entails an orderly process with opportunity for public review and comments. Listing North Basin on the NPL was endorsed by the state of California early this summer and would allow the cleanup of the site to proceed after many years of negotiations and legal proceedings with potentially responsible parties.  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 recently participated in the following: 

  • •   OCWD Director Roger Yoh participated in the Well 21 ribbon cutting ceremony in Yorba Linda. He presented a resolution commemorating this milestone and celebrating the special partnership between the city of Yorba Linda and the District.

  • •   Director Bruce Whitaker gave a presentation at the Fullerton Boys & Girls Club about water conservation.

  • •   General Manager Mike Markus and Senior Engineer Lo Tan discussed and presented comments and suggestions to the ranking criteria of projects for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) program going forward at the SAWPA Project Agreement 22 Committee meeting.

  • •   Director of Water Quality & Technical Resources Jason Dadakis served on an invited panel at the ACWA Fall Conference and provided a short overview of the Canyon 2 fire, with an emphasis on water agency response, post-fire planning, and debris flow hazard assessment.

  • 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:

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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.

 New Hires


Andrea Arevalo                                               Kathy Lawson
Hydrogeology Intern                                      Senior HR Specialist
Hydrogeology                                                 Human Resources                  

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Upcoming Events


January 3: 5:30 p.m. Board of Directors Meeting (Boardroom)

January 4: 8:00 a.m. Communications/Legislative Committee Meeting (C-2)

January 5: 7:30 a.m. Water Advisory Committee of Orange County (WACO) (Boardroom)

January 8: 5:00 p.m. GWRS Steering Committee (Boardroom)

January 10: 8:00 a.m. Water Issues Committee Meeting (Boardroom)

January 11: 8:00 a.m. Admin/Finance Committee Meeting (C-2)

January 17: 5:30 p.m. Board of Directors Meeting (Boardroom)

January 26:  noon  Property Management Committee Meeting (C-2)

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November Tours 

Thank you to the more than 400 guests who toured OCWD’s facilities in November:

Guests included Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva; State Water Resources Control Board Vice-chair Steven Moore ; students from Cal State Fullerton and Cal State Long Beach (CSULB) Nursing Programs, CSULB public works and urban policy class, Orange Coast College, American University of Health Sciences School of Nursing, Dana Hills High School, and Saddleback College;  members of the Metropolitan Water District-Management Academy, China Water Conservance,  and a Chinese delegation; staff from the city of Lake Forest/Senior Division, Santa Catarina Water & Sanitation Company of Brazil, HDEC-China, and the Power China Energy, Infrastructure and Environmental Groups;  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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