June 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— EPA and DTSC Take Important Steps Toward North Basin Cleanup

The Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) has been working to remediate the North Basin Groundwater Contamination Plume (North Basin; site), located among the cities of Fullerton, Anaheim and Placentia, since the early 1990s. OCWD is well aware of the hazard it presents to our water supply and the need for corrective actions to protect our critical water resource.

Recently, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) have taken important steps toward its cleanup. Read More...  

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Denis R. Bilodeau, P.E.




GWRS Bottled Water Goes on the Road

The Orange County Water District and the Orange County Sanitation District have teamed once again, this time to take their “star” on tour.

The two agencies, which collaborated to create the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS)—the world’s largest advanced water purification project for potable reuse, recently had a limited edition of 16,000 GWRS water bottles made to take on the road and educate the California public, media and policy makers about the benefits of water reuse and to promote reused water for direct potable reuse.

The tour has had “soft openings” at the WateReuse annual conference in San Diego, Earth Day celebration at Downtown Disney in Anaheim and the CoastAlong UCLA sustainability event in Los Angeles.  The official tour began June 21 with a special kick-off event in Hollywood.  Afterwards, staff will be going on the road to major water industry events, healthy lifestyle and food festivals, and athletic events to enlighten new audiences and prove the GWRS adage, “Tastes like water…because it is water!” Read More…

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OCWD Receives Gold PR World Award

The Orange County Water District’s Children’s Water Education Festival is a PR World Awards® Gold Winner in the “Training or Educational Event” category. The coveted annual PR World Awards program encompasses the world’s best in recognizing public relations, marketing, corporate communications, investor relations, and business development professionals, teams, departments, and achievements from every major industry in the world.

Winners were honored in San Francisco on Monday, June 26 during the 2017 Silicon Valley United States (SVUS) Red Carpet Awards Ceremony Dinner. Read More…

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District Ongoing Commitment Ensures High-Quality Water

The District’s Advanced Water Quality Assurance Laboratory (AWQAL) received official approval certificates from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for all seven required chemical testing methods required for EPA’s Unregulated Contaminant Rule 4 (UCMR4) on the basis of successful performance testing results.

The District will begin UCMR4 monitoring on behalf of the Groundwater Producers in 2018 and will be one of a small number of public agency laboratories in the nation implementing the full UCMR4 program. The seven required chemical methods cover range of inorganic and organic constituents, including trace elements, semi-volatile organic compounds, and disinfection byproductsRead More…

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Participants Find Water Forecast Stimulating at OC Water Summit

More than 330 met at the Grand Californian Hotel in the Disneyland Resort of Anaheim on June 16 to attend the 10th annual OC Water Summit, titled “Finding Water.” Experts discussed the current rush to find new sources of water in California to overcome the challenges caused by cyclical droughts.

Highlights of the day included Master of Ceremonies Fritz Coleman and his “water forecast” for Southern California, which covered a changing climate, continued arid conditions and cyclical droughts. He colorfully set the scene for six sessions, including the luncheon speaker.  Coleman is a celebrated NBC4 weathercaster and standup comedian. Read More...

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New South Basin Groundwater Wells Will Monitor Contamination

Nearly half of 23 monitoring wells planned for the Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) South Basin groundwater contamination remedial investigation have been constructed. The project is due for completion at the end of August 2017.

The wells are being built at six locations within Irvine and Santa Ana. The need for the wells was identified by the District’s hydrogeologic consultant, Hargis & Associates, who found data gaps where no wells exist to determine the extent of the contamination. These wells will help to fill those data gaps and allow the District to measure groundwater levels and collect water samples to monitor trends in chemical concentrations. Read More...

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OCWD Celebrates 84th Anniversary

Eighty-four years ago, the California Legislature created the Orange County Water District, giving it broad powers to manage the Orange County Groundwater Basin and protect the county’s water rights to the natural flows of the Santa Ana River.

It was entrusted to conserve groundwater supplies, ensuring both water quality and quantity, to litigate for basin water rights, to import water from outside the watershed for basin replenishment, and to control, conserve and reclaim flood and stormwater for beneficial use in the basin. Read More...

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Communitas Award Honors Children’s Water Education Festival

The 2016 Children’s Water Education Festival received a 2017 Communitas Award in the “Corporate Social Responsibility” category.

Communitas Awards recognizes exceptional businesses, organizations and individuals that are unselfishly giving of themselves and their resources, and those that are changing how they do business to benefit their communities. Read More...

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Coliphage Testing Enhances Water Quality Assessment

The Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) has a commitment to providing exceptional water quality and has comprehensive knowledge of groundwater quality. OCWD tests for many more contaminants than are required by regulations, allowing it to anticipate and react early to water quality risks. The result is that customers enjoy water that complies with all drinking water regulations 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

As water quality steward, OCWD continues to implement a robust and proactive water quality monitoring program to ensure the quality of water resources in Orange County.  Coliphage monitoring is one type of water quality test that OCWD has performed for many years at many different locations. 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 May:

  • •     President Denis Bilodeau and Executive Director of Engineering and Water Resources John Kennedy provided an OCWD briefing to the Orange City Council.
  • •     Director James Vanderbilt presented an overview of OCWD to the Kiwanis Club of Greater Anaheim and the Rotary Club of Anaheim.
  • •     General Manager Mike Markus attended the World Environmental & Water Resources Congress where he provided a plenary lecture and was honored with the Environmental & Water Resources Institute Pioneers in Groundwater Award.
  • •     John Kennedy provided a presentation to the Newport Beach Sunrise Rotary about OCWD’s role in water resource management and an update on Orange County’s water supplies.
  • •     Chief Hydrogeologist Roy Herndon participated in a roundtable discussion of the Groundwater Resources Association’s Contemporary Groundwater Issues Council where he presented OCWD’s experiences addressing contaminant plumes and how that may relate to requirements of GSAs to address water quality impacts under SGMA.​

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:   


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Upcoming Events

July 4 : Holiday

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

July 6 : 8:00 a.m. Communications/Legislative Committee Meeting (C-2)

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

July 10 : 5:00 p.m. GWRS Steering Committee Meeting

July 12 : 8:00 a.m. Water Issues Committee Meeting (Boardroom)

July 13 : 8:00 a.m. Admin/Finance Committee Meeting (C-2)

July 19 : 5:30 p.m. Board of Directors Meeting (Boardroom)

July 25 : 8:00 a.m. Retirement Committee Meeting (C-2)

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)

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May Tours

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

NextGen Climate Founder Tom Steyer and members of his staff; students from Pegasus School, Cal Poly Pomona, Golden West College, Fullerton College, Santiago Community College, Edison High School, Citrus College, UCI Department of Earth System Science, the Cal Poly Pomona ASCE Chapter, and nursing students from West Coast University and American University of Health Sciences; operators from the Orange County Sanitation District; staff engineers with the State Water Resources Control Board Division of Drinking Water; the lead risk management advisor for ACWA/JPIA; representatives from the city of San Diego; a group from the California Institute of Technology; NWRI Executive Director Kevin Hardy; representatives from the China Huadian Water Holding and Engineering Company and China Dow Chemical Investment Company; 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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