July 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—New Water Infrastructure Project Unveiled in Anaheim

The Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) has an ongoing commitment to long-term facility planning and infrastructure investment. Its most recent project more effectively captures and utilizes water that would otherwise be lost to the Pacific Ocean.

The Burris Pump Station Replacement Project has recently been completed. The facility was rededicated at a small ceremony on July 20 in Anaheim. A special thanks to Claudio Gallegos, acting district director, office of Congressman J. Luis Correa; Jose Martinez, senior field representative, office of Assemblyman Steven Choi; and Pasquale Talarico, deputy chief of staff, office of Senator John Moorlach who presented the District with certificates of recognition to commemorate the occasion.

This project illustrates the complexities of managing one of the world’s most advanced recharge systems that includes more than two dozen recharge basins (artificial lakes) and numerous pumps, pipelines and levees, plus managing wildlife. Read More...  

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Denis R. Bilodeau, P.E.




OCWD Expert Appointed to State Water Resources Control Board Advisory Committee

Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) Operations Manager Tyson Neely was appointed by the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB; State Water Board) to serve as an advisory committee member on its Wastewater Operator Certification Program (WWOCP). Tyson fills the seat recently added by Assembly Bill 2890, which was approved by Governor Jerry Brown in 2016 adding one water recycling operator to serve on the committee to represent water recycling plants. Read More…

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OCWD Invests to Increase Local Water Supplies

Fulfilling its commitment to provide water reliability for more than 2.4 million people in north and central Orange County, the Orange County Water District (OCWD; District) continues to make sound investments to refill the Orange County Groundwater Basin following several years of extreme drought in California.  Stressing the importance of maintaining a diverse water supply portfolio, the OCWD board of directors (Board) voted July 19 to purchase up to an additional 100,000 acre-feet of imported water from the Municipal Water District of Orange County, the local representative of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MET).  This is enough water to meet the water demands of more than 800,000 people. Read More...

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Governor Brown Supports EPA’s Cleanup Efforts in the North Basin

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.

The groundwater basin has been threatened by shallow contamination plumes in the North Basin (Fullerton, Anaheim and Placentia) and South Basin (Santa Ana, Tustin, Irvine). The following is an update of the cleanup efforts in the North Basin. Read More…

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How OCWD "Looks into the Future" of the Groundwater Basin

What is a groundwater model?  In a nutshell, it’s a series of mathematical equations that simulate how water flows underground and is stored in the aquifers beneath our feet.  Like a spreadsheet program, those equations are packaged in a software program that runs on a computer. 

Did you know that groundwater models are the primary tools that the Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) uses to predict future conditions in the groundwater basin?  Groundwater models are “built” on the computer to solve specific groundwater problems, such as controlling seawater intrusion, keeping groundwater levels from dropping too low, or containing and preventing the spread of groundwater contamination. Read More...

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OCWD on Exclusive List to Apply for WIFIA Loan

The Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) has been invited to apply for a $124 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). OCWD was one of 12 selected from a group of 43 projects that span the nation.

The District will use this loan to help complete the final expansion of the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS), which will increase advanced purified water production from 100 to 130 million gallons per day—enough to meet the water needs of 1 million people in north and central Orange County. 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 June:

  • •     President Denis Bilodeau gave an update of OCWD and the GWRS to the city of Tustin.
  • •     First Vice President Phil Anthony provided a briefing on current groundwater conditions to the city of Seal Beach.
  • •     Board Directors Cathy Green and Bruce Whitaker participated in the 60th Anniversary City of Fountain Valley Parade.
  • •     Director of Public Affairs Eleanor Torres provided a presentation about the GWRS to ESP Magnet High School.

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.

Employee of the Quarter—Gary Yoshiba

Gary Yoshiba is the project manager for the construction phase for the Alamitos Barrier Improvement Project. This project involves the installation of 17 injection wells, four monitoring wells and two shallow piezometers. All of the well installations have been at very demanding locations.

Gary has successfully executed the project, despite numerous challenges. These included extensive community outreach and coordination with three public agencies (Orange County Public Works, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, and Los Angeles County Department of Public Works), delays due to unusually heavy rains and road wash-outs, purge-water disposal issues, and temporarily shutting down existing injection wells near the well drilling.

In addition to the successful execution of the project, Gary's efforts have saved the districts tens of thousands of dollars by developing low-cost options for disposing purge water that exceeded permitted surface water quality discharge limits. Also, Gary has put in numerous overtime hours for the project.

Gary’s hard work and dedication is much appreciated and worthy of recognition.

Congratulations Gary!

New Hires:    


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Upcoming Events

July 26 : 8:30 a.m. OCWD/Municipal Water District of OC Joint Planning Meeting (MWDOC 101)

July 28 : noon Property Management Committee Meeting (C-2)

August 2 : 5:30 p.m. Board of Directors Meeting (Boardroom)

August 3 : 8:00 a.m. Communications/Legislative Committee Meeting (C-2)

August 4: 7:30 a.m. Water Advisory Committee of Orange County (Boardroom)

August 9 : 8:00 a.m. Water Issues Committee Meeting (Boardroom)

August 10 : 8:00 a.m. Admin/Finance Committee Meeting (C-2)

August 16 : 5:30 p.m. Board of Directors Meeting (Boardroom)

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

August 29 : 8:00 a.m. Retirement Committee (C-2)

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June Tours

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

Alison Martin, district representative for Congressman Edward Royce; the Chino Basin Watermaster General Manager Peter Kavounas; and Association of Official Analytical Communities (AOAC) Southern California Section (SCS) and U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) Joint Two-Day Regulatory and Compliance Conference attendees.

In addition, we thank members of the League of Women Voters Central Orange County, the North Orange County Chamber of Commerce and a Korean Delegation; University of San Francisco and Cal State Fullerton nursing students; students from Universidad Autonoma de Baja California Sur, Vanguard University, Godinez High School, and middle and high school homeschools; Orange Coast College ecology students; employees of South Coast Repertory and Centennial Park Domestic Water District; 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 www.ocwd.com.

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