August 2019

OCWD Board Members


Vicente Sarmiento, Esq.

First Vice President

Cathy Green

Second Vice President

Stephen R. Sheldon

Denis R. Bilodeau, P.E.
Jordan Brandman
Dina L. Nguyen, Esq.
Kelly E. Rowe, C.E.G., C.H.
Tri Ta
Roger C. Yoh, P.E.
Ahmad Zahra

General Manager

Michael R. Markus

In This Issue:

•   President’s Message—OCWD Hosts Congressional PFAS Briefing

•   OCWD Recognized as Utility of the Future Today

•   OCWD Awarded Grants That Impact Global Water Purification Research

•   Tell a Teacher—OCWD Has Education Opportunities Beyond the Classroom

•   Groundwater Adventure Tour Sign-ups Begin Sept. 4

•   Join OCWD and OC Green Companies at Local Green and Health Expo Sept. 12

•   Inner-Coastal & Watershed Cleanup Day is Sept. 21

•   Out in the Community

•   OCWD in the News

•   OCWD Employees

•   Upcoming Events

•   July Tours


President’s Message — OCWD Hosts Congressional PFAS Briefing

I am never surprised but am always full of pride when the board and staff members of the Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) are at the forefront of taking on the big water issues.

Last Thursday, OCWD hosted a congressional Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) briefing with Congressman Harley Rouda (D-CA) and staff from Orange County’s congressional delegation. Nearly 75 guests were in attendance including local Groundwater Producers and other interested parties. I moderated the event. The reason for the briefing was to discuss what Orange County is doing and how federal representatives can help advance effective regulations and laws pertaining to PFAS and other contaminants of emerging concern. 

PFAS are a group of synthetic chemicals that have been in use since the 1940s. Of them, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) have become chemicals of emerging concern to the public’s health.  PFAS have been found both in the environment and in blood samples of the general U.S. population. Most people have been exposed to these chemicals for decades through consumer products, but drinking water can be an additional source of exposure in communities where these chemicals have entered water supplies.  PFOA and PFOS chemicals have been banned from being manufactured or used in the U.S. since 2015, but the chemicals persist in the environment because they don’t degrade.

Only in recent years, have the methods for detection been created and refined. Read More…

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Vicente Sarmiento, Esq.





OCWD Recognized as Utility of the Future Today

The Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) has been honored with the designation of Utility of the Future Today, which celebrates the achievements of water utilities that transform from the traditional wastewater treatment system to a resource recovery center and lead in the overall sustainability and resilience of the communities they serve.

Utility of the Future Today was launched in 2016 by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), the Water Environment Federation (WEF), The Water Research Foundation (WRF) and the WateReuse Association, with input from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

"The Orange County Water District is extremely proud of this new designation," said OCWD President Vicente Sarmiento. "Our agency has pioneered groundwater management for more than 80 years and water reuse for nearly 40 years. OCWD's Board of Directors and staff take on the water challenges of today and prepare to meet the region's water demands for generations to come. Solid science and state-of-the-art technologies guide our decisions." Read More…

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OCWD Awarded Grants That Impact Global Water Purification Research

The Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) has been named as an awardee of four new grants for research and development. These 2019 grants highlight global and national partnerships OCWD has formed with other industry leaders at the forefront of water purification technologies.

“OCWD’s research and development staff are involved with promising new methods and technologies worldwide,” said OCWD President Vicente Sarmiento. “Collaboration with top universities and international experts is important in moving water research forward. We are honored to be awarded this funding that supports advancements in potable reuse.” Read More…

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Tell a Teacher—OCWD Has Education Opportunities Beyond the Classroom

It’s hard to believe that another school year has begun. The Orange County Water District (OCWD), which manages the Orange County Groundwater Basin and operates the world’s largest advanced water purification facility, offers many free field trips and classroom programs to students and teachers (elementary through college).  We invite you to tell your local schools and teachers about these programs and how to apply.

Our newest is Next Generation Water Leaders for grades 6-12. Co-created by OCWD and Inside the Outdoors, this two-hour interactive session includes a presentation, lab activity, scavenger hunt in the H2O Learning Center, and brief tour of the GWRS – the world’s largest advanced water recycling facility- located in Fountain Valley.  The year-round program is designed to inspire the next generation of water scientists, engineers, policy makers, environmentalists, and innovators.  Some bus funding is available. Read More…

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Groundwater Adventure Tour Sign-ups Begin Sept. 4

One of the Orange County Water District’s favorite events of the year, and a great learning experience for adults, is the Groundwater Adventure Tour, which will take place on Thursday, Oct. 24 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Lucky guests will see and experience the highlights of the District’s facilities during this day-long expedition. Featured stops will include the Groundwater Replenishment System—the world’s largest advanced water purification project for potable reuse—and Philip L. Anthony Water Quality Laboratory in Fountain Valley, a key recharge “lake” where water is put back into the basin in Anaheim, and the Prado Wetlands in Riverside County, which are the largest man-made wetlands in California.

Sign-ups for this very popular event begin Sept. 4 on the OCWD website and priority will be given to individuals who have not previously attended. Hurry! Space is limited and seats fill up quickly.

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Join OCWD and OC Green Companies at Local Green and Health Expo Sept. 12

The Orange County Water District (OCWD) has had the privilege of participating at one of Orange County’s oldest Green and Health Expos hosted by the Filipino American Chamber of Commerce of Orange County (FACCOC). 

The expo, in its 11th year, will be held on Thursday, Sept. 12 at the Delta Hotel by Marriott in Garden Grove from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.  The expo features more than 60 exhibitors, breakout sessions and the presentation of the chamber’s Emerald Awards to Orange County local businesses that, through their business practices, initiatives and/or product design, are helping benefit the environment and/or are having a positive health impact.  Nominations and booth applications are still being accepted.  Awards categories include Greenest Company or Product, Best Sustainability Company or Product, Best Health Company or Product, and Best Tech Company or Product. For more information on how you can participate or nominate a company, visit

The FACCOC was one of the first chambers in Orange County to support OCWD’s Groundwater Replenishment System water recycling facility and recognizes the benefits of having water recycling as part of Orange County’s diversified water portfolio.

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Inner-Coastal & Watershed Clean-up Day is Sept. 21

This is your opportunity to help the environment! Inner-Coastal & Watershed Clean-up Day is Saturday, Sept. 21 at locations throughout Orange County. For up-to-date information, visit or contact Jim Meyer from Trails4All at or visit

Additionally, there are cleanup days in several locations throughout Kern, Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties. For information about these dates and locations visit

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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: 

  • •  The full OCWD Board of Directors was in attendance at the OCWD PFAS congressional briefing that featured Congressman Harley Rouda and representatives from the offices of U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Kamala Harris (D-CA); and U.S. Representatives Gil Cisneros (D-39), Jose Luis Correa (D-46) and Alan Lowenthal (D-47). OCWD President Vicente Sarmiento moderated, Executive Director of Water Quality & Technical Resources Jason Dadakis provided a PFAS overview and city of Fullerton Director of Public Works Meg McWade provided a local overview of PFAS impact

  • •  Executive Director of Planning & Natural Resources Greg Woodside and Natural Resources Director Richard Zembal provided a briefing on the District’s Prado Basin programs to senior U.S. Army Corps of Engineers staff and members of the Corps’ Environmental Advisory Board. Attending the meeting at OCWD’s Prado Wetlands office was Stacey Brown, the Corps’ newly appointed chief of planning & policy
  • •  Greg Woodside also gave a presentation on the status of Prado Dam Forecast Informed Reservoir Operations, or FIRO, at the 6th Annual FIRO Workshop in San Diego

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

The District’s employees are its most valuable resources. OCWD is committed to recruiting the best and enriching their lives so that they may grow within the water industry and the District family.

 New Hires

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Upcoming Events

Sept. 4 : 5:30 p.m. Board of Directors Meeting (Boardroom)

Sept. 5 : 8:00 a.m. Communications/Legislative Liaison Committee Meeting (C-2)

Sept. 6 : 7:30 a.m. Water Advisory Committee of Orange County (WACO) Meeting (Boardroom)

Sept. 11 : 8:00 a.m. Water Issues Committee Meeting (Boardroom)

Sept. 12 : 8:00 a.m. Administration/Finance Committee Meeting (C-2)

Sept. 18 : 5:30 p.m. Board of Directors Meeting (Boardroom)

Sept. 27 : noon  Property Management Committee Meeting (C-2)

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July Tours 

Thank you to the nearly 300 guests who toured OCWD’s facilities during July.

GWRS tours were provided to California State Assemblyman Tyler Diep (72nd District); engineering students from Cal Poly Pomona, students from the ERDT EnVision Chinese Student Exchange Program, a University of Southern California research group, UC Irvine STEM program, Chapman University, Cal State Fullerton, and Orange Coast College; interns from Greentech; administrators from the city of Roseville, Calif.; members of Las Virgenes Water District, the ASCE OC Young Members Forum and Girl Scouts of America; a delegation from Beijing Water Science and Technology Institute in China; Members of K Water Korea; 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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