July 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 Takes Proactive Approach to Address PFAS in Drinking Water

•   State Approves OCWD Alternative Groundwater Management Plan

•   OCWD Mourns the Passing of Beloved Former Director Irv Pickler

•   How to Read a Water Quality Report

•   Out in the Community

•   OCWD in the News

•   OCWD Employees

•   Upcoming Events

•   June Tours


President’s Message — OCWD Takes Proactive Approach to Address PFAS in Drinking Water

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) are chemicals of emerging concern prevalent in the environment that were commonly used in many consumer products including carpet, clothing, fabrics for furniture, paper packaging for food, and other materials (e.g., cookware) that are resistant to water, grease or stains. They are also used for firefighting at airfields and in industrial processes. PFOA and PFOS are two of the more than 4,000 per - and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a group of synthetic chemicals that have been in use since the 1940s. PFOA and PFOS are no longer used in the United States but are still produced elsewhere in the world.

Humans have been exposed to these chemicals for decades through consumer products. Drinking water is only one source of potential exposure.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established lifetime advisories for PFOA and PFOS and the California Division of Drinking Water (DDW) established notification levels for PFOS and PFOA, as well as a single health advisory response level.

As enforceable regulations are pending at the state and federal levels, the Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) has been proactive in testing for PFOA and PFOS.  Read More…

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Vicente Sarmiento, Esq.





State Approves OCWD Alternative Groundwater Management Plan

The California Department of Water Resources (DWR) approved an alternative to a Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP) for the Orange County Groundwater Basin (Basin). The Basin, managed and protected by the Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District), provides 77% of the drinking water supply to 2.5 million people in north and central Orange County. 

The alternative plan was submitted to DWR to meet requirements of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) of 2014. Alternative plans can be submitted in lieu of GSPs and must demonstrate how water managers have already achieved or will achieve sustainable groundwater management. DWR received 15 alternative plans and nine were approved. The plan’s approval is a testament to OCWD’s tremendous stewardship of the Basin since 1933. Read More...

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OCWD Mourns the Passing of Beloved Former Director Irv Pickler

The Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) is mourning the passing of former Director Irv Pickler who died on July 17 at the age of 98. Pickler served on the OCWD Board of Directors from 1992 through 2002 and 2007 through 2012. According to OCWD President Vicente Sarmiento, “Director Pickler proudly represented the city of Anaheim (OCWD Division 9) and performed his duties with great diligence. My fellow board members, staff and I will miss his great sense of humor and genuine enthusiasm for serving his community. His decades of public service and broad experience, resolving complex municipal and water issues within the District and the state, served OCWD well.”

Former Director Pickler was very knowledgeable about the complexities of groundwater management, creating new water supplies and sustaining local and state water supplies. His expertise was invaluable to the District. Pickler was instrumental in bringing Anaheim and OCWD together to create Anaheim Coves at Burris Basin. Without compromising water production, under Pickler’s leadership, OCWD worked diligently to come up with a way to allow its property to also serve an important need for open space and recreation in Anaheim. OCWD provided the city of Anaheim access to 14 acres of open space for Anaheim Coves and an additional six acres for the Northern Extension, which opened in June 2019, for a total of 20 acres. Read More...

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How to Read a Water Quality Report

In celebration of August as National Water Quality Month, we thought you’d appreciate a little primer on reading your city or water agency’s water quality report, also known as a consumer confidence report or CCR.

What type of information is found in your report? Sources of your drinking water, a brief summary of the risk of contamination, regulated contaminants found, and potential health risks of contaminants detected in violation of an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) health standard. In addition, the CCR provides education information on nitrate, arsenic or lead and statements on cryptosporidium, which are all contaminants that might be of concern. 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 executive staff and directors participated in PFAS meetings with Senator John Moorlach, Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris and the district director for Assemblymember Tom Daly.
  • • General Manager Mike Markus provided a briefing and GWRS tour to an international delegation from South Africa.
  • • Executive Director of Water Quality & Technical Resources Jason Dadakis and Legislative Affairs Liaison Alicia Dunkin provided PFOS and PFOA briefings to staff from each of the five Orange County Board of Supervisors and staff from the offices of Assemblymembers Tyler Diep and Cottie Petrie-Norris.

  • • Public Affairs Director Eleanor Torres led a webinar meeting of the WateReuse California Communications Collaborative Group. She also gave presentations about the GWRS bottled water campaign and water reuse terminology to the ACWA Communications Committee when the group visited OCWD for its quarterly meeting.

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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.

Employee of the Second Quarter

Natasha Issak, Human Resources Assistant

Natasha Issak goes above and beyond, not only for her Human Resources group but anyone around her. Natasha is always willing to lend a hand no matter what and will do it with a smile. There have been many instances in which Natasha saw a pile of paperwork and she proceeded to volunteer to file all of it. She helps create a very positive environment here at the District daily.

Natasha has learned many job tasks very quickly. She has taken on tasks with very little direction and has exceeded the expectations of the job in a very small amount of time. Natasha has taken on more technical work without having to be asked and always does so with a positive attitude. She has learned the payroll/HR system with very little direction. She has tremendous initiative and she is always asking to assist others. Natasha is an asset to the Human Resources Department and the District.

Congratulations Natasha!

 New Hires


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Upcoming Events

Aug. 2: 7:30 a.m. Water Advisory Committee of Orange County (WACO) Meeting (Boardroom)

Aug. 7: 5:30 p.m. Board of Directors Meeting (Boardroom)

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

Aug. 14  : 8:00 a.m. Water Issues Committee Meeting (Boardroom)

Aug 15 : 8:00 a.m. Administration/Finance Committee Meeting (C-2)

Aug. 21 : 5:30 p.m. Board of Directors Meeting (Boardroom)

Aug. 23 : Property Management (C-2)

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June Tours 

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

GWRS tours were provided to an international delegation from South Africa; engineers from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power; members of the Orange County Health Care Agency, the International Visitors’ Council, the California Global Education Project, and the Association of California Water Agencies; staff from LG NanoH2O Inc., the Orange County Health Department and Western Growers; a representative from the city of San Diego; CSUF Teachers in Training program members; teachers and students from Cal State Fullerton; nursing students from Cal State Fullerton, Baldy View and the University of San Francisco; students from Western Governors University, UC Riverside, Talbert Middle School, and Pegasus School; 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 http://www.ocwd.com/contact-us/

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