March 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— Building on Legislative Success

We are enthused with the legislation success of the past year. The bottling of reused water initiative was impressive.

The enactment of AB 2022 (Gordon- D-Menlo Park), which now allows the bottling of advanced purified water for demonstration purposes, is a great accomplishment. The Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) and the Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD) are the first in the Western Hemisphere to have done so. Together, we are starting a robust outreach campaign—water bottles in hand-- within the state of California to take the messages about the quality, reliability and taste of reused water straight to the people and to our representatives in Sacramento. We will be highlighting the environmental benefits of reused water—reducing the amount of wastewater sent to the ocean, reusing a precious resource and savings of energy to produce a local water source, as well. This will help to increase acceptance of future water reuse projects and possibly influence legislation towards allowing direct potable reuse—the introduction of advanced-purified reused water directly into a public water system. 

Building on last year’s success, this year’s legislative platform also includes support of state legislation to provide 100 percent credit for Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) water during a drought declaration, allocations and/or mandatory restrictions.  Read More…

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Denis R. Bilodeau, P.E.




More Festival Volunteers Needed

Take that last minute opportunity to become a volunteer at the Children’s Water Education Festival.

The Orange County Water District, Disneyland Resort, the National Water Research Institute and OCWD’s Groundwater Guardian Team will present the Festival at the University of California, Irvine on March 29 and 30.

The biggest volunteer need falls on Tuesday, March 28, for setup, to include stuffing 8,500 goody bags with t-shirts, folders, programs, pencils, water bottles, and other fun goodies. Signage needs to be hung and presenter booth check lists need to be gone over. Shifts are from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Tuesday. You are encouraged to sign up even if you can’t stay the entire shift.

The Festival hosts 7500 third, fourth and fifth graders this year, who will learn how to protect natural resources.  Volunteers will receive snacks and lunch, a reusable water bottle and are eligible for prize drawings each day they volunteer. Please sign up online.

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Fix a Leak Week March 20 to 26

Water waste robs about 10 percent of your water bill, according to WaterSense®, an EPA Partnership Program. March 20 through 26 is Fix a Leak Week. Learn how to check for, find and fix leaks such as dripping faucets, toilet flappers and other leaking valves. There are a number of how-to lists and videos you will find on its  Fixing Leaks Around the Home web page. Cracking down on leaks will help conserve our precious water in Southern California and will help you save money. It’s a win for all.

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World Water Day to Focus on Wastewater as a Resource

“Wastewater” is the theme for 2017 World Water Day on March 22.

Each year, World Water Day highlights a specific aspect of freshwater and invites everyone to take this opportunity to learn more about water related issues and be inspired to take action to make a difference. The United Nations General Assembly designated March 22, 1993 as the first World Water Day.

Wastewater is especially important in Orange County. Every day, the Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD) treats about 185 million gallons of wastewater, enough to fill Angel Stadium nearly three times. Of that, the Orange County Water District needs 135 million gallons to produce 100 million gallons per day of ultra-pure Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) water. That water is then piped into recharge basins to percolate down into the Orange County Groundwater Basin, where those who live in the District get 75 percent of their water. Read More…

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Sign Up for 10th Annual OC Water Summit

Registration is open for the 10th annual OC Water Summit, which will take place on Friday, June 16 at the Grand Californian Hotel at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim.

This year’s program, titled “Finding Water,” delves into potential new water supplies that will be essential to get California through cyclical drought conditions, to prepare for natural growth in population and to support trade and commerce.

The program agenda will feature distinguished speakers delivering presentations and discussing the many options in a water portfolio such as ocean desalination, imported water and reused/recycled water. The master of ceremonies is NBC4 Weathercaster Fritz Coleman. Read More…

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Participate in Regional Water Plan Development

Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) is a collaborative effort to identify and implement water resource solutions on a regional scale. Multiple agencies and a broad range of stakeholders work together to ensure sustainable water supplies, improve water quality, and promote environmental stewardship.

Existing county plans for the north and central parts of Orange County (approximately the area overlying the Orange County Groundwater Basin) need to be updated. The county’s environmental resources staff is leading this effort. Anyone interested in a wide-range of water resource management issues is invited to participate in the plan development. Stakeholder meetings are being held approximately once a month. To be put on the email list for future meeting notifications, please contact Iris Corpus. Read More…

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La Palma Project Receives Engineering Awards

OCWD’s La Palma Recharge Basin, which began construction in September 2015 and was completed in February 2017, recently received two engineering awards.

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Orange County Branch presented the Outstanding Water Project Award for La Palma Groundwater Recharge Basin to the Orange County Water District and Stantec Consulting Services at ASCE’s awards dinner on Feb. 16. The honor celebrated the project for how it helps improve the quality of life for those in Orange County.

The La Palma Groundwater Recharge Basin project also received the 2017 Engineering Project Achievement Award from the Orange County Engineering Council (OCEC) at its National Engineers’ Week Honors and Awards Banquet held Feb. 25. The award honors the accomplishments, quality and diversity of engineering and related scientific communities in Southern California. Read More…

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Protecting Local Groundwater Supplies

The Orange County Water District (District; OCWD) continues to work toward remediating both the North­ Basin and South Basin groundwater contaminant plumes to protect our local drinking water supplies.  Both the North and South projects are being implemented with similar parallel approaches: technical work to develop a cost-effective remedy and efforts to get the parties responsible for the contamination (responsible parties; RPs) to pay for the remediation, rather than place that burden on the water ratepayers. The status of the technical analysis and cleanup in both areas is mixed. Driven primarily by state regulatory enforcement, the RPs have primarily conducted onsite studies and soil remediation. Very little groundwater remediation has been conducted, particularly off site. The RPs have not taken on the comprehensive assessment of the large comingled and multi-mile long plumes that extend far beyond their property boundaries.  It is this off site contamination that is the emphasis of OCWD’s technical work.  Time is of the essence, because this contamination has impacted several water supply wells, and is moving and threatens to impact additional wells. 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 February:

  • •  General Manager Mike Markus participated in two panels at the VerdeXchange 2017 event titled “Moving LA Toward Supply Self-reliance and Tactics: Wastewater Reuse Yesterday and Today.

  • •  Mike also provided a briefing on the Orange County Water District to the Fullerton City Council and at the Association of California Cities, Orange County new council member orientation.

  • •  Assistant General Manager Mike Wehner provided a presentation to the Anaheim City Council regarding groundwater replenishment sources and water quality, especially the exceptionally high quality of the water produced by the Groundwater Replenishment System.

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:

•  OC Register: Land leased for expanding the Anaheim Coves by Joseph Pimentel

•  Los Angeles Daily News: Is there an Oroville-style threat looming in Southern California? Experts say no by David Downey

•  The Hornet: Is California’s drought finally over? By Aaron Untiveros

•  Orange County Breeze: The Orange county Water District’s Groundwater Replenishment System prevented beach closures during recent heavy rains

•  Source: Operators Join the Dialogue on Advanced Water Treatment Certification by Penelope Grenoble

•  ATTN: California is turning toilet water into drinking water by Laurie Guthmann

•  Cronkite News: Would you drink toilet water? You may get the chance. By Ethan Millman and Morgan Wheeler

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Peer-Reviewed Employee Papers and Publications

OCWD employees are often called upon for their expertise on a number of water-related subjects. Many have participated in research and other projects and have published their findings that are of interest to the water industry.

OCWD Principal Scientist Ken Ishida co-authored two publications in peer-reviewed journals with researchers from UC Riverside and Cal State Long Beach related to UV/AOP treatment: “Impact of the ultraviolet photolysis of monochloramine on 1.4-dioxane removal: New insights into Potable Water Reuse” in Environmental Science and Technology Letters (December 2016) and “A mechanistic understanding of the degradation of trace organic contaminants by UV/hydrogen peroxide, UV/persulfate and UV/free chlorine for water reuse” in Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology (January 2017).

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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.

Executive Promotions:

Jason Dadakis has been promoted to Executive Director of Water Quality and Technical Resources.  In this new role Jason will be responsible for directing the management of four departments; Regulatory Affairs, Research and Development, Water Quality, and the Advanced Water Quality Assurance Laboratory.  Jason has shown leadership and management skills that demonstrate his readiness for these new duties.  His promotion will bolster the management team at OCWD and help us to prepare for the future.




New Hires:   


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Upcoming Events

March 22: 8:30 a.m. OCWD/Municipal Water District of OC Joint Planning Meeting (MWDOC 101)

March 24: noon Property Management Committee Meeting (C-2)

March 29-30: 8:30 a.m. Children’s Water Education Festival (UC Irvine Campus)

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

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

April 12: 8:00 a.m. Water Issues Committee Meeting (C-2)

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

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

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

April 24: 12:00 p.m. Property Management Committee Meeting (C-2) 

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February Tours

Thank you to the nearly 550 guests who toured OCWD’s facilities in February:

University of Southern California and Cal Poly Pomona students and Cal State Fullerton geography class students; Cal State Long Beach nursing students (pictured); Cal State Fullerton and Vanguard University nursing students; Cal State Fullerton Korean exchange students and UC Irvine Exchange Program students from Shihbaura Institute in Japan; El Modena, Rancho Alamitos, Santiago and Valencia high school students; members of the Society for Marketing Professional Services, members of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts; a Chinese delegation from Bayan Nur; employees of MDS and of Hydranautics;  members of the Fountain Valley Fire Department; 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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