October 2017

OCWD Board Members


Denis R. Bilodeau, P.E.

First Vice President


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 Takes Early Action to Protect the Groundwater Basin

Supporting its longstanding effort to clean up groundwater contamination in the north part of the Orange County Groundwater Basin (Basin), the Orange County Water District (OCWD, the District) recently put Extraction Well 1 (EW-1) into operation. This is part of a larger effort to clean up industrial contaminants in the north part of the Basin. EW-1 will aid in preventing the further spread of contaminants in this area. Only drinking water that meets state and federal standards continue to be provided to OCWD’s service area.

EW-1 was implemented because early action was deemed necessary by OCWD’s board of directors. Read More…

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Denis R. Bilodeau, P.E.




OCWD General Manager Goes to the White House

The Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) was invited to participate in a White House waterways infrastructure briefing on October 10. The meeting was centered around the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) water and land mitigation areas—namely, drinking water, wastewater, stormwater, Superfund, and Brownfield assets. OCWD was invited to participate by the White House because of its expertise in many of these topics, including groundwater cleanup and protection projects. Mike Markus, general manager, attended on behalf of OCWD.

White House presenters included EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt; DJ Gribbin, special assistant to the President for Infrastructure Policy; Deputy Chief of Staff Rick Dearborn; and Alex Herrgott, Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ)’s associate director for infrastructure. Read More…

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Anaheim South Recycled Water Project Will Tie Into GWRS Pipeline

Orange County Water District staff recently attended a meeting with the city of Anaheim to introduce the Anaheim South Recycled Water Project to the County of Orange. The Anaheim South Recycle Water Project will serve Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) product water for landscape irrigation and industrial uses in the Platinum Triangle and Resort districts of the city. By replacing potable water (groundwater) with GWRS water, the project will directly offset about 325 million gallons per year of potable water demands and the need to replenish this water into the aquifer. 

The project will include a new pipeline and pump station along Orangewood Avenue and Harbor Boulevard. Major street improvement projects in Orangewood Avenue and Katella Avenue are planned to be constructed in 2018. The recycled water pipeline is planned to be installed with the street improvements to avoid re-opening the street after it is completed.

The city has been awarded a Proposition 1 grant for a portion of the project. The city is currently in the planning and design phase and will begin construction in summer of 2018. 

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October is Energy Action Month

Saving energy means saving money and extending natural resources while protecting the environment. By simply planting a shade tree, you can reduce the costs of air conditioning. There are other great ideas like insulating walls, hot water pipes and heating ducts;  replacing inefficient appliances and repairing or upgrading leaky windows, which are just a few of the actions you can take during October—Energy Action Month. Find more tips to conserve energy within your home at the Federal Energy Management Program website.

One of the suggestions is to have a home energy audit.  In that same vein, did you know that the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) was created with energy conservation in mind and that Orange County Water District (OCWD) staff continually monitors the system and upgrades with the most efficient products available? Read More…

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Sponsors Sought for Important Environmental Education Event

The award-winning Children’s Water Education Festival is the largest event of its kind in the United States. Since inception more than 20 years ago, it has educated and inspired more than 122,000 Orange County students about how they can protect local water supplies and the environment. More than 7,500 third, fourth and fifth grade students and their teachers are expected to attend the 2018 event, taking place March 28 and 29 at the University of California, Irvine.

The Festival is provided at no cost to schools, making public and private financial support crucial to its success and growth. Your organization has the opportunity to support this important event through sponsorship. Read More...

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Pegasus School Re-Hydration Station Project Saves Students Money and Teaches a Valuable Lesson

Pegasus School students in Huntington Beach, Calif., were spending lots of money purchasing bottles of water from vending machines. In an effort to lower the school’s carbon footprint, save money and teach students about the importance of hydration, two classmates, Miya Stauss and Anchal Bhaskar, began an initiative to remove bottled water from its vending machines and encourage students and faculty to bring reusable bottles. They presented the program to Pam Conti, director of environmental sustainability and The Outdoor Classroom, who then helped connect the students to the Orange County Water District (OCWD).

In October, the school and OCWD unveiled the completed Pegasus School Re-Hydration Station project, making the students’ dream a reality. 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 September:

  • •   Director Dina Nguyen and Assistant General Manager Mike Wehner provided a presentation and GWRS tour to members of the local Vietnamese media including, Vstar TV and Viet Bao Daily News. 

  • •   OCWD Director and Mayor of Fullerton Bruce Whitaker with Governor Jerry Brown and Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva celebrated the renovation of historic Fox Fullerton Theater. 
  • •   General Manager Mike Markus attended a Mesa Water District Board meeting and gave an update on groundwater basin conditions, the cyclic storage agreement, status of in lieu deliveries, and the Poseidon project. 


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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:

The Orange County Water District is actively participating in getting the word out about meaningful water and emergency campaigns through social media. Even fun, nationally-observed days like talk in an elevator day have received a water-awareness twist. Bonus elements of some social media posts are short videos that add a humorous element and have been well-received. The following are the most recent and we invite you to Like and retweet as you wish:

     •  Talk in an Elevator Day

     •  OCWD-Special Water Quality Investigation Unit 

     •  Imagine a Day Without Water

     • Great Shakeout Earthquake Tips


Scientist Shannon Roback, Principal Scientist Ken Ishida, and Research Director Megan Plumlee co-authored a research paper in the journal Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology titled "Near real-time N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) monitoring in potable water reuse via online high-performance liquid chromatographyphotochemical reaction-chemiluminescence,” led by researchers at Nagasaki and Kagoshima Universities in Japan. The project adapted a bench-top instrument to an online analyzer, successfully measuring NDMA in reverse osmosis permeate every 20 minutes automatically. 

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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 3rd Quarter—Wes Haydock

James “Wes” Haydock, OCWD Senior Distribution Technician, has developed a strong reputation over more than eight years as being a team player willing to go the extra mile.  A recent example occurred when a motorist sheared off an OCWD air vacuum/release valve in the Ellis Avenue sidewalk in front of the Hobby People store (injection well I-2), which is across the street from the OCWD administration building.  As a result, GWRS water, which is injected in the seawater barrier to prevent saltwater contamination, was sent hurling into the air literally defining the city name Fountain Valley. 

Wes was able to secure flow in a timely manner; however, to stop the geyser, five other injection wells were starved of flow. The repair required considerable time, skill, equipment, and labor. The damage looked like it might require the services of an outside contractor.  Wes dove into this project determined to restore full flow to the seawater barrier.  With assistance from Lead Distribution Technician Justin McKeever and Senior Maintenance Technician Don Haffke, Wes led the effort to complete the repair.  As a result, the barrier was able to uphold protective elevations throughout the weekend without the need for outside services.

Congratulations Wes!


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Upcoming Events

November 1: 5:30 p.m. Board of Directors Meeting (Boardroom)

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

November 3: 7:30 a.m. Water Advisory Committee of Orange County (WACO) (Boardroom)

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

November 9: 8:00 a.m. Admin/Finance Committee Meeting (C-2)


November 15: 5:30 p.m. Board of Directors Meeting (Boardroom)


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September Tours

Thank you to the more than 100 guests who toured OCWD’s facilities in September:

Guests included nursing students from Vanguard University and Cal State Long Beach; engineering students from Cal State Fullerton; teaching staff from Inside the Outdoors; members of the Coasters Community Group; staff from Hydranautics and LG Chem;  delegations from Korea,  the Beijing Drainage Group Water Design Co., Guizhou Provincial Water Resources Department in China, and Research and Technology Company Limited, China; 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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                                                                      Fountain Valley, CA 92708

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