August 2018

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 Mourns the Loss of Director Anthony, a Great Water Leader

The Orange County Water District (OCWD) and the global water community is mourning the loss of OCWD’s longest-serving board member, 1st Vice President Philip L. Anthony, who passed away on July 26.

Phil was first elected to the OCWD Board of Directors in 1981 to represent division four which includes the cities of Los Alamitos and Seal Beach and parts of Buena Park, Cypress, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Stanton, and Westminster. During his service of nearly 37 years on the board, he helped dispel the “Toilet to Tap” myth and inspired the advancement of water reuse projects around the world. He played an important role in pioneering projects that have now become standard water industry tools to combat drought and water shortages. 

Phil was a mentor to me and many other water leaders. Under his visionary leadership, OCWD doubled the sustainable yield of the Orange County Groundwater Basin. The effect of having plentiful water for residents and businesses in Orange County cannot be understated. Phil’s passing is a great loss for all of Orange County. Read More…
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Denis R. Bilodeau, P.E.





OCWD Receives $135 Million Loan for GWRS Final Expansion

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $135 million Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to the Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) to help finance its Groundwater Replenishment System final expansion.

The announcement was made by EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest Mike Stoker at the project’s future site in Fountain Valley on Aug. 1. Stoker was joined by U.S. Congressmen Dana Rohrabacher (48th District) and Alan Lowenthal (47th District); OCWD President Denis Bilodeau and directors Shawn Dewane, Cathy Green and Steve Sheldon, and General Manager Mike Markus; and Orange County Sanitation District Board Chair Greg Sebourn, Vice Chair David Shawver, directors John Ferryman and Peter Kim, and General Manager James Herberg.

“This advanced water recycling and groundwater replenishment project will provide Orange County residents and businesses with an additional local drinking water supply,” said Stoker. “Not only will this project protect local water resources, it will make Orange County more resilient to future droughts.” Read More... 
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Sign Up for Groundwater Adventure Tour

The Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) is now accepting a limited number of reservations for its Groundwater Adventure Tour, a day-long, behind-the-scenes look at how the District  provides your water. The popular event, which takes place Oct. 25, explores OCWD and Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) facilities in Fountain Valley, Anaheim and Riverside. This unique opportunity features all facets of the District’s operations, including the GWRS, Advanced Water Quality Assurance Laboratory, Anaheim recharge facilities, and Prado Wetlands.

A moderate degree of walking on uneven ground, climbing stairs, sitting, and standing is involved. Sunglasses, sunscreen and comfortable walking shoes are recommended. The excursion is free and includes bus transportation and lunch. Priority is given to new attendees. Spaces fill quickly and registration opens September 1. Please visit the Groundwater Adventure Tour website to learn more. 
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GWRS Sets New Record for Most Water Recycled in a Year

The Orange County Water District (OCWD) and Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD) achieved another important milestone with their joint-project, the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS). The facility produced 105,659 acre-feet of water in the 2017-2018 fiscal year, which is the largest quantity of purified water that the GWRS has ever produced in a year since the project came online in 2008. Around the world, there are facilities similar to the GWRS, but it is considered the largest of its kind. Read More…
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OCWD Awarded Two U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Grants

The United States Bureau of Reclamation recently announced its selection of 16 research projects to receive funding under the Desalination and Water Purification Research Program (DWPR), two of which will be conducted in part by Orange County Water District’s (OCWD) research and development staff. Of the $3.5 million that the DWPR awarded, $350,000 will go to OCWD research.

“OCWD’s research and development staff study promising new technologies to improve water quality and increase efficiencies in water purification and groundwater recharge operations,” stated OCWD President Denis Bilodeau. “They conduct applied research to evaluate technologies and develop new processes and methods, often through collaboration with top universities and leading experts. We are very honored to be awarded this funding to help make further advancements in potable reuse.” Read More…

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August and September Water Events

During California’s hottest days of summer and into the early days of fall, our thoughts often turn to water for recreation and drinking. Various events during August and September will be celebrating this precious resource.

World Water Week, the annual focal point for the globe’s water issues, takes place Aug. 26-31 in Sweden. Participants from more than 100 countries will gather in Stockholm for this year’s program titled “Water, ecosystems and human development.” Themed to nature-based solutions for water challenges, it will feature a variety of sessions including “Innovative Financing to Protect Ecosystems and Promote Nature,” “Investing in Freshwater Ecosystems and Biodiversity: A Key Development Challenge,” and “Monitoring Water Quality Using EO: UNESCO World Water Quality Portal.” Read More… 
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Basin Cleaning Maximizes Stormwater Capture

Seasonal basin cleaning is underway. Scrapers, motor graders and bulldozers will be part of the landscape in Anaheim and Orange for the next few months as the heavy grading equipment removes the thin clogging layer of silt at the bottom of each of the region’s more than two dozen recharge basins, owned, operated and managed by the Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District).

Recharge basins, in all, cover more than 1,000 acres and look like small lakes when filled. They allow surface water to be stored and infiltrated through the ground. This process provides a natural filtering of the surface water before it reaches the aquifer. Recharge basin maintenance is one of the most important factors in percolating water into the Orange County Groundwater Basin.

This is all part of an aggressive approach to groundwater recharge that has evolved into an extremely effective system for maximizing the capture and replacement of limited water resources in our area. Next time it rains, OCWD will be ready. 
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September is National Preparedness Month

Disasters and emergencies aren’t planned. Will you be prepared? National Preparedness Month, recognized each September, encourages Americans to plan ahead and prepare in their homes, businesses and communities, to help themselves and others.

The website features weekly themes such as Make and Practice your Plan (Sept. 1-8) and Learn Life Saving Skills (Sept. 9-15). Skills such as CPR and first aid are extremely important to know, but we should also consider the costs associated with disasters. Check your Insurance Coverage (Sept. 16-22) and Save for an Emergency (Sept. 23-29).

The website also offers tips, ideas and resources for each week that include making an emergency plan or money fund, and saving a life and checking your coverage. 
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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: 

    • •   President Denis Bilodeau presented a keynote speech at the inaugural Disinfection & Reuse Symposium, presented by the Water Environment Federation in cooperation with the Pacific Northwest Clean Water Association and The Water Research Foundation.

      • •   Director of Special Projects Bill Hunt provided an update on the District’s North Basin cleanup projects at the July Water Advisory Committee of Orange County (WACO) meeting.

      • •   Inorganic Chemist Carolyn Carroll gave a presentation about OCWD, the Advanced Water Quality Assurance Laboratory, and opportunities of employment at the District to Chapman University science students. 
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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:


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


Congratulations to our retirees Phil Harrington and Patti Wimmerstedt who collectively worked 72 years at the District. We salute you for your tireless service to the people of Orange County and wish you well in the years ahead. Back to Top


Upcoming Events

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you to the more than 300 guests who toured OCWD’s facilities in July:  Dr. Gerald Meral, author of the Water Supply and Water Quality Act of 2018; Environmental Health Specialists from the Orange County Health Care Agency; Educational Resource Development Trust (ERDT) exchange students from China; USC Ph.D. students; members and staff from the California Resources Management Association; staff from the Santa Clara Valley Water District, Long Beach Water Department and Metropolitan Water District of Southern California; students from the California State Summer School for Math and Science (COSMOS) program, Orange Coast College, and Chapman University; members of Homeschool Concierge, the North Orange County Chamber of Commerce and 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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                                                                      Fountain Valley, CA 92708

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