July 2018

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—What’s in YOUR Water?

You can have confidence in local water agencies and in the high-quality of groundwater that OCWD provides to them. August is Water Quality Month. Take a few minutes to visit and read your city’s Water Quality Report, also called Consumer Confidence Reports. In the meantime, I’m going to provide you some information on the topic that might get you to trade in your bottled water for a refillable water bottle. Read More…

Back to Top

Denis R. Bilodeau, P.E.




OCWD Operations Manager Named 2018 Outstanding Plant Operator

Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) Operations Manager Tyson Neely received the Southwest Membrane Operator Association (SWMOA) 2018 Outstanding Plant Operator Award for outstanding service and dedication to membrane operations and for leadership within the industry.

This award, given to operators who have extensive experience and have exhibited leadership in their position, was presented at the SWMOA Annual Symposium on June 26, 2018.  Read More…

Back to Top


Anaheim Rehabilitates 60-Year-Old Water Complex

Anaheim Public Utilities has recently renovated its La Palma Water Complex in an ongoing effort to modernize the water system to provide the best quality of service to customers. Located in central La Palma, the complex is the only booster station and storage facility west of the 57 freeway. The complex is crucial to its surrounding community as it provides water supply to meet peak demand period and fire protection to fight local fires.

The original complex was built in the 1950s and needed rehabilitation. The renovation included demolition of a 3 million-gallon reservoir, major improvements to its 4 million-gallon reservoir, as well as the demolition and reconstruction of its pump station. Read More…

Back to Top


Water Experts Converge at Monthly WACO Meetings

Interested in water and looking for a way to get more involved in the water community? The Water Advisory Committee of Orange County (WACO) holds monthly meetings on topics and presenters as diverse as atmospheric rivers by Dr. Duane Waliser of NASA/JPL; the safety of water agencies by an FBI agent and the director of UCI Cyber Security Policy and Research Institute; and federal drought relief by the Honorable Ken Calvert, U.S. House of Representatives.

On Friday, August 3 at 7:30 a.m., Paul Parreira Sr. of the Ryan Parreira Almond Company will explore the farmers’ perspectives on water and agriculture, the challenges they face and the adaptations they are making, for the next WACO meeting. More water is used for agriculture than any other human use in California and farmers play a critical role in water reliability as they depend on both surface water and groundwater. The meeting will be held in the Orange County Water District (OCWD) Boardroom, located at 18700 Ward Street in Fountain Valley, Calif.

Formed in 1983, WACO provides attendees an opportunity for professional networking and to receive informative presentations from water industry professionals, academics, economists, engineers, political officials, and others about key water issues affecting Orange County. Meetings are traditionally held the first Friday of every month from 7:30 – 9:00 a.m. in OCWD’s boardroom.

WACO meetings are open to the public and reservations are not required. For additional information, visit the WACO webpage or sign up to receive future meeting announcements.

Back to Top


Court Upholds OCWD’S Groundwater Pumping Calculation

Judge Amy Hogue of the Los Angeles Superior Court recently upheld how the Orange County Water District (OCWD) interprets the Orange County Water District Act to calculate the amount of groundwater local retail water agencies, also known as Groundwater Producers, may pump from the Orange County Groundwater Basin when agencies are also utilizing locally-produced recycled water. The ruling upholds OCWD’s longstanding determination that the recycled water produced and distributed by Groundwater Producer Irvine Ranch Water District (IRWD) may not be included in the calculation to determine the amount of groundwater that IRWD may pump within the Basin Production Percentage (BPP), without paying the Basin Equity Assessment surcharge. Read More…

Back to Top


OCWD to Expand Groundwater Modeling

Seawater intrusion, and its resulting contamination of the Orange County Groundwater Basin, represent continuing challenges facing the Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District).

As Orange County’s population and agricultural development grew at the turn of the twentieth century and more groundwater was pumped, the Pacific Ocean itself became a real threat, seeping saltwater into the underground aquifer and contaminating shoreline wells.

In the 1960s and 1970s, OCWD constructed two underground hydraulic seawater barriers.  These barriers use a series of wells that inject freshwater into the ground about 4 miles inland in the cities of Huntington Beach and Fountain Valley (Talbert Seawater Barrier) and about 2 miles inland along the border of Los Angeles County near Seal Beach (Alamitos Seawater Barrier).

If one was to look at a geological map of the Orange County coastline, there are a number of elevated mesas with gaps or lowlands in between, where seawater intrusion is most prevalent.

Despite OCWD’s successful decades-long efforts to prevent seawater intrusion, including increased numbers of injection wells, seawater intrusion has been discovered most recently in the Sunset Gap beneath the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station. In addition, one well in the city of Huntington Beach was impacted by saltwater and was destroyed in 2015. Read More…

Back to Top


Legislative Summary 2018

The legislative team of the Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) was successful in gaining recognition of the value of potable reuse as the ultimate form of conservation in recently enacted conservation legislation, AB 1668 (Assemblymember Laura Friedman D-43 Burbank) and SB 606 (Senator Bob Hertzberg D-18 Van Nuys), by ensuring that water producers in OCWD’s service area would receive a 15 percent credit or what is referred to as a “bonus incentive” for the potable water produced by the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS). OCWD was also able to help ward off new state taxes and burdensome legislation in line with protecting the interests of the District and its water producers. The District also gained federal support for its final expansion of the Groundwater Replenishment System and the Forecast-Informed Reservoir Operation (FIRO) program in the form of federal financing. Read More…

Back to Top


OCSD Awarded for Outstanding Compliance Record

The Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD) has recently been selected to receive the Platinum Peak Performance Award from the National Association of Clean Waters Agencies (NACWA).  The Platinum Peak Performance Award honors facilities with a consistent record of full compliance for a consecutive five-year period.

“As the third largest wastewater treatment facility west of the Mississippi River, perfect compliance over a five-year period can be difficult. We received this award for our Reclamation Plant in Fountain Valley and Treatment Plant in Huntington Beach.  Maintaining a perfect record of compliance for five years demonstrates the dedication of each of our employees to protecting public health and the environment,” stated Jim Herberg, OCSD General Manager. Read More…

Back to Top


Drinking Water Tax Abandoned

A proposed tax on California's drinking water, designed to clean up contaminated water for thousands of Californians, was abandoned by Governor Jerry Brown and the Legislature in June. This groundbreaking legislation, if passed, would have made California the first state in the nation to tax water. Many opponents felt it was a tax on a basic human right to quality, affordable and accessible water for human consumption, cooking and sanitary purposes.

In lieu of the “Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Act," spending $23.5 million in general fund

dollars has been proposed for testing and emergency relief on contaminated wells and septic systems. The General Fund funding will add to new funding that became available when California voters last week approved Proposition 68 with $250 million in general obligation bonds for safe drinking water prioritized for disadvantaged communities. In November, voters will have the opportunity to pass another water bond, which would authorize $500 million in general obligation bonds for safe drinking water prioritized for disadvantaged communities. Read More…

Back to Top


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: 

  • •  Director Vicente Sarmiento and Engineer Ben Smith discussed the Mid Basin Injection: Centennial Park project at a city of Santa Ana Connect to Council event.

  • •   Executive Director of Operations/GWRS Mehul Patel presented on the GWRS at the International Desalination Association conference in Valencia, Spain.

  • •   GWRS Project Manager Sandy Scott-Roberts was the keynote speaker at the CONCASAN conference in Brazil where GWRS water was also presented to attendees.

  • •   Research Director Megan Plumlee and Executive Director of Water Quality & Technical Resources Jason Dadakis worked closely with representatives from Water Reuse California for preparation and participation in the Bioanalytical Screening of Recycled Water Workshop in Costa Mesa, where Dr. Plumlee also gave a presentation.

  • •   In addition, Dr. Plumlee spoke at the 2018 Japan-America Frontiers of Engineering Symposium in Tsukuba, Japan, about advances in water quality analysis to ensure high quality of recycled drinking water.

Read More…

 Back to Top


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:

Back to Top 


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 2nd Quarter—Ben Smith

Engineer Ben Smith was recognized as Employee of the 2nd Quarter for his above and beyond project management effort on the Mid Basin Expansion – Centennial Park Project. This project is currently in construction and will be complete in the Fall of 2019.

Prior to starting construction, it took several years of coordination with the city of Santa Ana and Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD) to determine site use, access, improvement negotiations, development of a memorandum of understanding and agreement with Santa Ana, development of two agreements with SAUSD, and permitting with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and County of Orange.

Ben attends and presents updates about the project at a local stakeholders meeting every three months, has presented at five neighborhood association meetings, and has presented at four professional association meetings (American Society of Civil Engineers, Iranian American Society of Engineers and Architects, Orange County Water Association, and OCReuse). Ben has routinely performed night time inspections of the pipeline construction and well drilling not only to inspect construction work but to ensure all the requirements are being met to help minimize local neighborhood impacts.

Ben has done a great job working with Santa Ana staff and addressing construction-related issues like water line breaks, soccer field access, construction noise, street cleaning and dealing with Centennial Park special events. Congratulations Ben!

Executive Update

John Bonsangue has been named Director of Recharge and Wetland Operations. The position was made vacant due to Scott Nygren’s retirement.

He began his OCWD career in 2000 as a hydrogeologist. John rose to the position of principal hydrogeologist, managing OCWD’s injection recharge and distribution facilities, prior to his newest position. We wish John much success!



New Amazing Interns! 

Back to Top 


Upcoming Events

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back to Top 


June Tours


Thank you to the nearly 400 guests who toured OCWD’s facilities in June.

GWRS tour visitors included staff from Monterey One Water (formerly Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency) and Yorba Linda Water District, attendees of the “North Meets South Water Tour,” 50 high school students from Anaheim, members of GEAR UP - federal college access program, students from Vanguard University and the University of San Francisco Satellite nursing programs, a delegation from the Korean Water & Wastewater Works Association and one from South Korea, students from Cal State Fullerton and West Coast University nursing programs (shown in photo), and members of the 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.

Back to Top


                                                                              CONTACT US

                                                                           18700 Ward Street
                                                                      Fountain Valley, CA 92708

You are receiving this email from the Orange County Water District. If you would like to be removed from OCWD's Hydrospectives email list, please respond to this email with "Unsubscribe" in the subject line. Thank you.

Back to Top