CWEA’s Awards program is sponsored by Coombs-Hopkins


Ddaze-9875On April 29th the California Water Environment Association (CWEA) announced the winners of its 2015 awards program at its Annual Conference in Santa Clara on April 29.  It was an energetic day as the final hours of the Annual Conference were coming to a close. Saving the best for last, we congratulated some very deserving agencies and individuals by recognizing them for their outstanding achievements within the water environment field.

CWEA’s awards program has grown each year to acknowledge outstanding achievement in more than 20 categories honoring exceptional California water environment professionals, collection systems, treatment plants, community outreach and so much more.  Categories include Plant of the Year, Collection System of the Year, Community Engagement & Outreach Program of the Year as well as awards of individual professionals in various vocations. The program seeks to recognize outstanding achievements within the water environment field, improve the professional status of all personnel working in the field, and stimulate public awareness of the importance of wastewater treatment to public health and the water environment.

Nominations that advance through CWEA’s 17 local sections’ awards programs are eligible to compete statewide. Congratulations to all the nominees of the 2015 awards program for their diligent work to keep California’s water clean and workforce strong. Application materials for the 2015 awards cycle will be posted online in July.

CWEA officers are available to make a presentation to CWEA award recipients at agency board or City Council meetings.  Please contact Victoria Thornton, at or (510) 382-7800 x 113.

CWEA 2015 Awards Winners [Read more]

WEFHQbanner2columnThe Water Advocates website makes it easier to get involved in water-related legislation and regulations

By Steve Dye, WEF Government Affairs

The Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) has launched a new website and on-line grassroots advocacy tool for the Water Advocates program that features important legislative and regulatory matters and calls-to-action on issues impacting the water sector.

The website offers a number of free grassroots tools to help WEF members engage with their elected officials. Although the website is accessible to all water professionals, WEF invites members to join the Water Advocates program to increase their effectiveness in advocating for the water sector. WEF members can join the Water Advocates community on, as well as the Water Advocates website.

Automated Letter Writing to Congress

The Water Advocates website currently has two calls-to-action on significant bills pending in Congress that connect users to a “Write your Congressman” tool on the website. The tool electronically submits pre-drafted letters to Senators and Representatives. The tool uses the official Congressional correspondence process so the emailed letter will not get marked as spam.

The first call-to-action urges the House and Senate to increase funding for water infrastructure in FY2017 appropriations bills. The letter asks Congress to fund the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs at $2 billion each. In addition, the letter includes a link to a new report by WEF and the WateReuse Association that states that for every $1 million in SRF funding, $930,000 is returned to the federal treasury in tax revenues, 16.5 high-paying jobs are created, and $2.95 million in economic growth is generated in the U.S. economy. [Read more]

Imagine A Day Without Water is a national campaign to engage stakeholders, public officials, and the general public about how water is essential, invaluable, and needs investment. On September 15, 2016, hundreds of organizations across the country will host events, author resolutions, take to social media, and more, to show why water is important to our economies, jobs, communities, environment, and daily lives.

There are many ways to participate and to educate your stakeholders and citizens – through events, online engagement, school curriculum, and partnering with organizations inside and beyond the water sector. Everyone has a water story.

Use this sample email which also has links to valuable tools for the campaign such as:

  • Are you a water-reliant business or labor group – a restaurant or brewery, a hotel chain or labor group, a manufacturer or a farmer? Participate on social media (shareable tweets and graphics coming soon!) and consider writing an op-ed in your local newspaper.
  • Are you an elected official? Issue a resolution affirming your community’s support for safe, reliable, accessible water.
  • Are you a water sector utility or agency? Open your facilities to elected leaders, the media, or students for tours or hold a press event.
  • Are you a school or educator? Consider hosting an art competition among young students, or have students talk about how water matters to their futures and career paths.



SWRCB_Logo1[1]The State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) Intended Use Plan (IUP) for State Fiscal Year 2016-2017 is now available for viewing on the State Water Board’s website.

This IUP establishes the State Water Board’s business plan for the CWSRF Program from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017, and serves as the current guidelines for Proposition 1 Small Community Wastewater Grants.

To request a hard copy of the report, please contact the CWSRF at (916) 327-9978 or

The Pleasanton Weekly reports:

The Dublin San Ramon Services District board of directors has appointed a new engineering services manager to fill the vacancy left by Dan McIntyre’s promotion to general manager.

CWEA member Judy Zavadil, who was selected during the board’s July 19 meeting, has 28 years of civil engineering experience, including the past nine at DSRSD, where she previously served as its supervisor of the Capital Improvement and Asset Management Division as well as a principal engineer.

“I’m thrilled to be in the new position,” Zavadil said. “We’re a little district but we do an awful lot. I’m excited to be working with the general manager and board continuing what we’ve been doing.”

As engineering services manager, Zavadil oversees planning, permitting, asset management, capital improvements and clean water and water conservation programs.

DSRSD, which provides sewer service to Pleasanton by contract, saw its top engineering position become vacant in April when McIntyre was promoted to general manager. A three-month nationwide recruitment process netted 31 applicants, eight of whom received a first interview. Three were interviewed a second time before McIntyre selected Zavadil as the top candidate for board consideration.

Go to full article >

The State Water Resources Control Board, along with six partner agencies, will host a free California Financing Coordinating Committee (CFCC) Funding Fair Tuesday, August 23, in Alhambra.

The CFCC Funding Fair is an excellent opportunity for public works and local government representatives to obtain information on funding currently available for infrastructure projects. Project categories include, but are not limited to: drinking water; wastewater; water quality; water supply; water conservation; water use efficiency; energy efficiency; and flood management. Some of the participating agencies also fund other types of infrastructure projects, such as streets and highways, emergency response vehicles, solid waste and community facilities.

The fair will be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, 900 South Fremont Avenue, Alhambra, 91803.

The CFCC was formed in 1998 and is made up of seven funding members: The State Water BoardCalifornia Department of Water ResourcesCalifornia Department of Housing and Community DevelopmentU.S. Department of Agriculture Rural DevelopmentU.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of ReclamationCalifornia Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank; and CalRecycle.

CFCC members facilitate and expedite the completion of various types of infrastructure projects by helping customers combine the resources of different agencies. Since 2000, CFCC members have conducted free funding fairs statewide to educate the public about available financial and technical resources.

These fairs provide one-stop shopping for those looking for infrastructure funding in California. Each of the listed agencies will provide information on their available infrastructure grant, loan and bond financing programs, including funding available from the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 (Proposition 1). Additionally, attendees have the opportunity to speak directly with program staff about specific projects and issues affecting their community.

The schedule for the funding fair is as follows:

Check-in: 8-8:30 a.m.

Agency presentations: 8:30 a.m.-noon.

Project discussion with agencies: noon-2 p.m.

The Alhambra funding fair is the fifth of six being held throughout the state in 2016. The schedule and registration is available at the CFCC website.


Elizabeth Allan, Executive Director

Elizabeth Allan, Executive Director

Dear CWEA Members,
I’m happy to report the highlights of the June 25-26 Board workshop and meeting most recently held in Oakland. Our fiscal year starts on July 1st  so this issue is dedicated to our FY16-17 program of work and budget recently approved by the Board.




FY 15-16 Accomplishments:
Our accomplishments from Fiscal Year (FY) 15-16 included:

  • 21st Century Education roll-out continues, bringing science-based adult-earning principles to our education events
  • Certification Strategic Planning is on track
  • Certification holders increased by 4% as of May 31 over our FYE 14-15.
  • New publisher for Wastewater Professional selected
  • Launched our new careers website
  • Projections indicate we will end the fiscal year better than budget.

FY 16-17 Program of Work:

The CWEA Board approved the program of work and budget for FY16-17.

Major highlights include:

  • Approved this year’s base dues increase of $8 bringing the FY16-17 membership dues to $172 (including the $12 Local Section dues). The Board adopted a 5-year working scenario in June 2012 with a base membership dues increase of $8 annually (with annual approvals still required). The Board’s approach is to make incremental, annual dues increases to keep pace with increased expenses.
  • A $5 increase for certification applications and $2 increase for certification renewals was approved. (See table below for new prices.)
  • Continue refining the certification strategic plan
  • Work in partnership with the California-Nevada American Water Works Association (CA-NV AWWA) on an Advanced Water Treatment (AWT) Operator Certification program
  • Educational events: Northern Safety Day; AC17; P3S; and specialty workshops
  • Hire a staff person to provide bookkeeping services for Local Sections
  • Continue to explore transitioning our Tri State Seminar agreement with AZ Water and Nevada Water Environment Association to a Limited Liability Company (LLC) model with a goal to have an agreement by the end of this year. A CWEA Task Force will meet to make recommendations to our Board on CWEA representation in an LLC model.
  • Create an Editorial Advisory Group for improving the quality and quantity of news stories in the Wastewater Professional and E-Bulletin.
  • Create several new websites, including: Events, Certification, Awards and Utility of the Future
  • Implement a new email communication system
  • Implement new Local Section website template and server
  • Work with the Board to refresh CWEA’s strategic plan

[Read more]

Volunteers are the driving force within our association. We wanted to share some great opportunities that have opened up for volunteers. One of these roles might be a great opportunity for you or for someone you know.

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  • Students and Young Professional Committee Chair and Vice Chair
  • Community Engagement & Outreach Committee Chair and Vice Chair
  • Scholarship Vice Chair
  • Certification Prep Task Force
  • Editorial Advisory Group

To learn more about volunteering or to recommend someone, please contact Communications Manager, Megan Barillo at and she’ll direct you to the proper person.

CertPrepPath2Secure your spot today for our upcoming Certification Preparation Sessions to prepare for your next CWEA Technical Certification exam. Our knowledgeable moderators will share information on how to use the many resources and tools to get you on the path to your certification. Space is limited, register online now!




Thursday, August 25, 2016
CWEA with Los Angeles Basin Section
SoCal Gas Company Energy Resource Center
9240 Firestone Blvd.
Downey, CA  90241
Earn up to 6.8 CWEA Contact Hours

Friday, September 23, 2016
CWEA with Redwood Empire Section
Fairfield Suisun Sewer District
1010 Chadbourne Road
Fairfield, CA  94534
Earn up to 7.2 CWEA Contact Hours

Join your colleagues at these interactive sessions to review the CWEA Path to Certification and delve into the knowledge, skills and abilities (KSA’s) that make up the core of your vocation.  You’ll use the newly developed KSA Gap Analysis Tool to identify areas to focus on during your studying.  Numerous and diverse sample questions will be reviewed as your moderator guides you through the highlights of your vocation.  Learn how to develop your own action plan tool for you to use throughout the day to track your action items and plan your next steps. You will leave this workshop with a better idea of what areas you need to focus on as you prepare for your exam.

CWEA is looking for qualified volunteers for the Advanced Water Treatment Job Analysis Validation Survey panel. See below for background and qualifications. Those who are interested can contact Chris Lundeen.

The California State Water Resources Control Board, Office of Operator Certification administers the certification of wastewater and water treatment plant operators. Advanced Water Purification Facilities use operators with certifications from water / wastewater or both. Water Recycling Treatment Plants use sophisticated operations and processes such as microfiltration (MF), reverse osmosis (RO), and advanced oxidation processes (AOP) to produce high-quality purified water that meets state criteria for non-potable and potable reuse standards.

The wastewater and water treatment operator certification programs were developed separately, each certification program having work and educational requirements that differ for their respective certification.

While the existing water and wastewater certification exams focus on “traditional” water and wastewater treatment processes, respectively, but do not cover advanced water treatment (AWT) or potable reuse-specific regulations and/or concerns. While the current certification program provides competent water and wastewater treatment operators to staff AWT facilities, there remain gaps in the existing testing and examination process; these exams do not adequately address the operational knowledge and skills required to operate these highly technical and specialized AWT equipment and processes.


Citing a need for the training and certification of Advanced Water Recycling Plant operators, the California-Nevada Section of American Water Works Association (CA-NV AWWA) undertook the development of a certification program for the AWT operator certification. A collaborative effort including CA-NV AWWA, California Water Environment Association (CWEA), and other industry partners representing California Urban Water Agencies (CUWA) and California Association of Sewerage Agencies (CASA) are working towards developing new industry certification standards for recycled / purified water operators.

The job analysis is a critical component of any formal certification program to identify tasks, knowledge, skills and abilities required to competently and successfully perform the duties required of the job or profession. The consulting services of Comira, Inc. have been retained to facilitate a workshop (up to 4 days) with industry experts to identify specific duties and responsibilities of operators functioning in the role of AWT or water recycling treatment plant operator. Results of the job analysis will be used to create accurate and defensible examination/testing specifications, from which a credentialed certification for AWT operator can be established.


The AWT Certification Committee is soliciting experienced AWT operators and related roles to serve on the Advanced Water Treatment Job Analysis Validation Survey panel. Participants should include: skilled operators, supervisors, educators, engineers and equipment/industry suppliers familiar with MF, RO, UV/AOP, Ozone, and potentially other advanced treatment processes. Solicitation of panelists will not be limited to experienced incumbents, but will also seek newer incumbents. Representatives with a wide variety of work-related experience, geographical diversity and expertise will be considered.

Validation Survey Panelists

A focus group of subject matter experts will develop a blueprint of a job function for a minimally competent AWT operator. More details about the workshop activities are noted below for your information. Your task will be to review the outcomes of the blueprint they develop. Using your experience, you will provide valuable feedback on the frequency and criticality of various knowledge, skills and abilities specified in the survey. The workshop panelists will then review the accumulated input from all survey respondents. The blueprint will be refined, as necessary. [Read more]

Recipients of the Utility of the Future Today Recognition Program show success in innovative and sustainable utility management practices

A partnership of water sector organizations—the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), the Water Environment Federation (WEF), the Water Environment & Reuse Foundation (WE&RF) and the WateReuse Association—with input from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced the recipients of the inaugural Utility of the Future (UOTF) Today Recognition Program. The program celebrates the progress and exceptional performance of wastewater utilities while supporting the widespread adoption of the innovative UOTF business model.

Sixty-one public and private utilities from across the U.S., Canada, and Denmark selected from an impressive number of first year entries by a peer committee of utility leaders.

Congratulations to the following California recipients:

  • City of Los Angeles, LA Sanitation, WESD, One Water
  • City of Roseville
  • City of San Diego Public Utilities Department
  • City of San Jose – Environmental Services Department
  • City of San Luis Obispo Utilities Department
  • East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD), CA
  • Fairfield Suisun Sewer District
  • Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency
  • Orange County Sanitation District
  • Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District
  • San Francisco Public Utilities Program
  • Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County
  • Santa Rosa Water
  • Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority (VVWRA)

These recipients will be recognized and honored during a September 27 ceremony that will be held in conjunction with WEFTEC 2016—WEF’s 89th annual technical exhibition and conference—in New Orleans, La. The recipients will receive a display flag and a special certificate to further identify and promote their outstanding achievement as a Utility of the Future Today organization. [Read more]

Certification_Icons_CWEANews_500CWEA has launched the Environmental Compliance Inspector (ECI) Grade I and II exams on July 1! So far a very small number of candidates have taken the exams and they are performing very well. Performance will continue to be monitored and feedback will be collected from test takers. Grade III exam launched on August 1st, and the Grade IV is scheduled to launch January 1, 2017.

Please note that the Knowledge Skills and Abilities (KSAs) have not changed. The Subject Matter Expert (SME) panel focused on revising and developing new test questions to fit each existing KSA.

Updated draft Study Guides for the Grade I and II have been emailed directly to all current candidates. They are not yet available on the online bookstore. Please send feedback on the study guides, especially those who have taken the exam to Chris Lundeen. Although the KSAs have not changed, the General Competencies, Math Competencies, and Suggested Reading for each KSA to reflect the new exams has been updated. The practice tests and solutions, glossary and acronyms, and formula sheet have also been updated.

The new Study Guides also include a new graphic that shows the “KSA Challenge Level” for each KSA. This is a relative weighting that is based on how test-takers, in the aggregate, have performed in each KSA. It doesn’t necessarily indicate how difficult the KSAs are, but simply indicates historical performance. As candidates prepare for their exam, they’ll need to assess how well prepared they are for each KSA and judge how challenging it might be for them. To help with that, a “Gap Analysis Tool” has been added as a final appendix to the study guide.
[Read more]

As an update to the Annual Conference wrap up we posted in May, we wanted to post some very important links and highlights of the event.

You can now download the presentations from our new Presentation Library. Be sure to check out the most popular session according to survey results from AC16: Thursday’s session, Sewer Maintenance: From Post it Notes to iPads presented by Adrian Tasso and Mark Herron of Moulton Niguel Water District. Other popular sessions included:AC16 - 3 Favorite Sessions (1)

  • Flushables: the New “F” Word: Chronically Clogging Pump Station Case Study

  • Critical Control Points in DPR: Quantifying the Multi-Barrier Approach to Treatment

  • Engaged Learning and Adult Education for Leadership and Succession Planning

More than 30 CWEA State award winners were recognized and a new Select Society of Sanitary Sludge Shovelers (5S) were installed. The complete list of winners of CWEA and WEF awards given at CWEA’s April 2016 Annual Conference, including new 5S inductees can be found here.

Check out the Flickr gallery of awards and the entire conference. CWEA would like to extend a big “thank you” to Ddaze Phuong of Orange County Sanitation District, Ralph Palomares of El Toro Water District and Kent McIntosh of Los Angeles County Sanitation District for their incredible talent of capturing the moment in photos. [Read more]

On July 19th and 20th CWEA and the California Association of Sanitation Agencies (CASA) co-hosted a series of technology presentations, featuring speakers from some of California’s leading water resource recovery agencies and private companies.

The workshops were so popular each location sold out quickly. The northern workshop was held at Central Sanitation District’s facility in Martinez and the southern event was hosted by the City of Los Angeles at the Hyperion Treatment Plant. The sell-out crowds underscore the growing popularity of resource recovery among California’s leading water utilities. The race to become the utility of the future has begun.

“These are exciting times with climate change regulations,” said workshop host Greg Kester while kicking off the Southern California event. “We can help the State meet their goals for greenhouse gas reductions with resource recovery… I think the pendulum is swinging back – people see biosolids as a resource once again.”

Mr. Kester is CASA’s Director of Renewable Resource Programs.

Presentations from the event are posted in the CWEA event library >

[Read more]

CASA & CWEA will co-host a Communication Essentials Workshop
October 18th in Oakland & 20th in Fountain Valley
Las Virgenes MWD provides public tours for hundreds of customers each year.

Las Virgenes MWD provides public tours for hundreds of customers each year. Credit: LVMWD

It is vital to communicate with the public about the realities of the large financial investments in our water and wastewater facilities. Public tours are one of the best forms of outreach water professionals can offer. But some plant personnel find the thought of leading a public tour daunting. What to say? What to do?

Once any initial misgivings about public speaking are overcome, being a tour guide can be fun and educational. Tours are essential for building public trust and support for future projects.

Tours also demonstrate the knowledge, skills and professionalism of California water and wastewater operators. We maintain some of the highest clean water standards in the world. We can take pride in what we do to protect the public and the environment. The more the public sees up close, the more they get to know us, the more they’ll offer in support for water projects.

So, what steps should you take to conduct a great tour?

Jeff Reinhardt, LVMWD

We asked one of California’s great water communicators, Jeff Reinhardt, the Public Affairs and Communications Manager for the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District, to share his experiences. The District offers a popular facility tour that continues to draw a full contingent of participants, every quarter for the last 14 years.

Jeff’s top tour tips are:

  1. Schedule it on a Saturday and make sure it’s well publicized
  2. Guest reservations with a name and phone number are a must
  3. Avoid technical jargon, keep it light and easily understood
  4. Emphasize the agency’s role in protecting public health and the environment
  5. Provide a “take home” handout that illustrates the process

Reinhardt’s entire career is focused on communication. He joined the District in 2003, with previous  experience in broadcasting and sports marketing. Jeff is also leading our profession forward as chair of CASA’s Communications Workgroup.

You can hear more from Jeff and expand your communication skills at the CASA-CWEA Communication Essentials Workshop on Oct 18th in Oakland and Oct 20th in Fountain Valley.

How did you first get involved in facility tours?
In 2003 the Las Virgenes – Triunfo Joint Powers Authority (JPA) began the process of renewing our NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) permit. We were presented with significant demands to increase our treatment processes to meet very stringent standards for nitrogen and phosphorus discharge. These standards were significantly greater than the standards required for potable water. [Read more]

The Bay Area Consortium for Clean Water Education is offering community college classes and scholarships for students seeking a career in the water and wastewater industry. Registration is now open and the first class begins Sept. 1, from 6 to 9 p.m., in both Martinez and Redwood City.

The scholarship reimburses students for the cost of tuition and books. Students must maintain a grade of C or better in each course, which are held at wastewater treatment facilities throughout the Bay Area. Students completing the 28 required units earn a Plant Operator Certificate.

Relevant jobs include water and wastewater treatment operator, water distribution operator, wastewater collections operator, mechanic/machinist, electrician, and instrument technician.

“The water and wastewater industry offers many opportunities for people interested in careers related to water conservation and environmental protection,” says Barbara Hockett, California Association of Sanitation Agencies Education Foundation boardmember. “And those already in the industry can use this program to expand their knowledge and position themselves to take advantage of new opportunities.”

“A lot of experienced people are retiring from clean water jobs, creating demand for new workers ready to step into these roles,” says Levi Fuller, wastewater treatment plant operations supervisor at Dublin San Ramon Services District and a BACCWE instructor. “BACCWE gives job seekers a foot in the door with career-specific coursework and valuable contacts in the industry.”

To qualify for the free scholarship, students should register no later than Aug. 26, 2016 at For more information, email

The Bay Area Consortium for Clean Water Education (BACCWE) is a consortium of water and wastewater districts that partner to support clean water education throughout the Bay Area.