January 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
Bruce Whitaker
Roger C. Yoh, P.E.

General Manager

Michael R. Markus

In This Issue:

President’s Message—Embracing the Year of Change Ahead

The Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) has its hand on the pulse of the water industry and has maneuvered change enthusiastically and strategically for more than 85 years. It has never been an agency to sit back and let things happen.

OCWD researches and monitors the groundwater basin and its facilities, planning decades into the future. The District was the first in the state to create a groundwater basin management plan back in the 1980s and developed updates. It shared this knowledge with the state to help create California’s first groundwater sustainability plan—the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 (SGMA). SGMA provides a framework and requires local groundwater agencies to maintain balanced levels of pumping and recharge.

OCWD is ready and able to act as needs arise. It embraced advanced purified water more than 10 years ago, resulting in a district of 2.5 million people who now enjoy high-quality water in a reliable manner, even during cyclical droughts.

California recently held elections and change is in the air once again. We have no less than eight new state legislators and Congress members, and a new governor. A first reaction might be to resist the unknown. However, we at the district view this as an opportunity, and look forward to much success in the coming year. Read More…

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Vicente Sarmiento, Esq.




Thirty-one Employees Honored with OCWD Service Awards

At the core of OCWD’s success is recruiting and retaining a talented workforce. Thirty-one members of the Orange County Water District team have received service awards celebrating work milestones for a combined total of 445 years of service. The following is a list of employee recipients. Read More...

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OC Water Summit Features Expert Speakers

The 12th Annual OC Water Summit, titled Water Under the Microscope, will focus on several aspects of water issues in California and feature a variety of esteemed speakers when it takes place on Friday, May 31, 2019, at the Grand Californian Resort and Spa at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim. Register online at http://www.ocwatersummit.com/.

California wildfires as they relate to water management, water storage projects, new technology and water infrastructure, comparisons and learning lessons of the Santa Ana and Los Angeles rivers, and contaminants of emerging concern (i.e. PFOA, PFOS, microplastics) will be examined and discussed by prominent members of the water and water-related communities. Read More…

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Dr. Megan Plumlee Named to New NRI Advisory Group

Megan Plumlee, Ph.D., P.E., Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) research director, was recently named to the Bioanalytical Implementation Advisory Group (BIAG) organized by the National Water Research Institute (NWRI), which held its first meeting at the District in January 2019.

At the meeting, she provided a presentation titled “Need for Standardized Protocol for Bioanalytical Monitoring of California Potable Reuse Facilities for ER-α and AhR Assays.”  Read More…

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Facts About OCWD’s Prado Constructed Wetlands

To commemorate International World Wetlands Day on Feb. 2, we’d like to offer the following factoids about OCWD’s own Prado Constructed Wetlands, located in Riverside County, along the 100-mile route the Santa Ana River travels from the San Bernardino Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. Read More…

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Lab Employees Receive Safety Awards

District staff working within the Philip L. Anthony Water Quality Laboratory have been recognized by the Association of California Water Agencies/Joint Powers Insurance Authority (ACWA/JPIA) through its H.R. LaBounty Safety Awards program.

The award specifically recognizes staff’s successful transition to a safer organic extraction procedure for the analysis of nitrosamine compounds in water samples. Read More… 
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GWRS Celebrates 11th Anniversary

It was a risky venture for its time, but every day for 11 years the 2.5 million people in the Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) service area have benefitted from the forward thinkers of both OCWD and its partner, the Orange County Sanitation District.

Together, they created the world’s largest advanced water purification project of its kind that now provides 100 million gallons each day of locally-controlled, reliable, quality water.

Within three years of coming online, the cost of imported water supplies became greater than GWRS water and the last of the cynics became believers. Read More… 

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OCWD GM Participates in Exclusive Global Water Workshop

Orange County Water District General Manager Mike Markus was a participant in an exclusive global water workshop on water demand management for domestic and industrial sectors in Singapore during December.

Twenty eminent global water experts from best water utilities, leading industries and foremost academics from different disciplines were carefully selected, according to Asit K. Biswas, distinguished visiting professor at Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

Mike is currently the vice chair of the Water Research Foundation, the leading research organization advancing the science of all water to ensure water quality and improved water services for the public. Read More…

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2019 WateReuse California Annual Conference

The 2019 WateReuse California Annual Conference will be held March 17-19 at the Hyatt Regency Orange County in Garden Grove, Calif. The conference is designed for individuals, organizations, and agencies that are associated with or interested in the design, management, operation, and use of water recycling facilities and projects in California. It is especially helpful in providing decision makers the opportunity to learn more about recycled water in California. 

The conference will feature more than 40 technical presentations, poster presentations, technical tours, receptions, an awards luncheon, the annual Gordon Cologne Breakfast, and an exhibition.

Topics and speakers appearing from the Orange County Water District include… Read More…

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Donate Time and Resources to the Children’s Water Education Festival

Your time and dollars are needed to ensure the smiles of more than 7,000 students at the 23rd annual Children’s Water Education Festival, taking place this year on Wednesday and Thursday, March 27 and 28, 2019 on the campus of UC Irvine.

The children, their teachers and chaperones are already scheduled to come. It will take your involvement to make sure their experience is enriching and memorable. Consider you or someone from your company appearing as a presenter for either or both days. Maybe you’d rather be a sponsor and receive prominent recognition for your contribution at one of many levels. Then again, you might want to volunteer your time. Hundreds of volunteers are needed for a variety of positions. 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 recently participated in the following: 

•  OCWD General Manager Mike Markus provided a presentation titled “How to Overcome Public Perception Issues on Potable Reuse Projects” at the 2nd Annual International Conference on Innovative Research in Science, Technology and Management, held in Singapore. 

•  Chief Financial Officer/Treasurer Randy Fick gave an overview of the District’s $135 million WIFIA loan for the GWRS final expansion during a WIFIA Webinar hosted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

•  Supervising Chemist Jeremy Davis participated on behalf of OCWD in the Ocean View High School 2018 Career and Technical Education Fair.

•  Legislative Liaison Alicia Dunkin met with legislative staff in Sacramento from the offices of Senator Robert Hertzberg, and assembly members Tom Daly, Sharon Quirk-Silva, and Cottie Petrie-Norris to gain support of state funding for Forecast Informed Reservoir Operations (FIRO). FIRO would aid the District with better weather data to capture stormwater behind Prado Dam.

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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:

Photo and caption source: Orange County Register—John Kennedy, Executive Director of Engineering and Water Resources at the Orange County Water District Board is leading the agency in expanding their wastewater recycling, a major protection from drought. (File Sam Gangwer, Contributing Photographer)

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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 4th Quarter—Thuy Lam

Senior Programmer of Information Services, Thuy Lam, is a very intelligent, enthusiastic and tireless supporter of laboratory operations at the Orange County Water District. While the Philip L. Anthony Water Quality Laboratory receives excellent service overall from Information Services, Thuy stands out as a person who not only accepts any request but does so with a smile and regularly produces excellent work and solutions with very short turnaround time. Read More…­


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Upcoming Events

Feb. 1 : 7:30 a.m. Water Advisory Committee of Orange County (WACO) Meeting (Boardroom)

Feb. 6 : 5:30 p.m. Board of Directors Meeting (Boardroom)

Feb. 7 : 8:00 a.m. Communications/Legislative Committee Meeting (C-2)

Feb. 13 : 8:00 a.m. Water Issues Committee Meeting (Boardroom)

Feb. 14 : Administration/Finance Committee Meeting (C-2)

Feb. 20 : 5:30 p.m. Board of Directors Meeting (Boardroom)

Feb. 22 : noon Property Management Committee Meeting (C-2)

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December Tours 

Thank you to the more than 125 guests who toured OCWD’s facilities in December. They included students from El Rancho High School Science Olympiad; representatives from Korean and Chinese delegations; members of Desalitech, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the Association of California Water Agencies, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and the State Water Resources Control Board; and members of the monthly public tour.

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 http://www.ocwd.com/contact-us/

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                                                                      Fountain Valley, CA 92708

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