According to a post from the Association of California Water Agencies:

The California Coastal Conservancy has released its March 2017 Proposition 1 Grant Solicitation package for multi-benefit ecosystem and watershed protection and restoration projects. This is the third round of Proposition 1 grants for Fiscal Year 2016-’17.

Continue reading on the ACWA website

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From the State Water Board’s March 2017 newsletter

Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP) Reforms

ELAP has developed a Work Plan to implement the Expert Review Panel’s recommendations. It targets the five programmatic areas that were recognized as critical elements in reform efforts: • Establish a Management System • Adopt a Laboratory Accreditation Standard • Ensure Use of Relevant Methods • Expand Resources • Enhance Communication

ELAP is committed to reforming the program through these five initiatives to deliver a top laboratory accreditation program to its internal and external stakeholders. This section contains a summary of recent progress made on each program area.

ADOPT A MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

ELAP completed work drafting the components of its quality management system, including Standard Operating Procedures and program Quality Assurance Manual. ELAP has established procedures consistent with the standards identified in The NELAC Institute, Volume 2, General Requirements for Accreditation Bodies Accrediting Environmental Laboratories (2009). The standardization of ELAP’s processes is aimed at increasing efficiency and staff accountability. The management system is in early stages of implementation and ELAP anticipates identifying revisions moving forward.

[Read more]

CWEA member Karen Honer interviewed for article series about women who are shaping Lodi’s future, in honor of Women’s History Month.
BEA AHBECK/NEWS-SENTINEL  White Slough Wastewater Treatment Plant superintendent Karen Honer poses for a picture on top of one of the digesters in Lodi.

BEA AHBECK/NEWS-SENTINEL White Slough Wastewater Treatment Plant superintendent Karen Honer poses for a picture on top of one of the digesters in Lodi.

When Karen Honer sees trash on the side of the road she stops and picks it up. That type of cleanliness and respect for the environment is the same approach she takes when treating Lodi’s wastewater.

Honer, the superintendent at the White Slough wastewater treatment plant, has always had dreams of being an environmentalist and planned to have a career as a park ranger. However, those plans quickly changed once she was introduced to the world of wastewater.

 

“Everyone thinks that they’re going to go straight into whatever they think they’re going to do in life, and you never get to your goal without a lot of zigzags,” Honer said. “When I decided to be a wastewater plant operator I thought I was just totally throwing my degree away, but the more I got into the field I realized it came full circle. I needed to understand the science and math and the environment to be able to properly to do my job.”

She didn’t realize how much she’d be achieving her goals of being environmentally conscious and protecting the environment until she fully understood what wastewater treatment entailed.

Honer, a graduate of California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo with a degree in Natural Resources Management, touts more that 30 years of experience in the wastewater industry.

“When I went to school, I had no clue what wastewater was and didn’t care, I planned on being a park ranger,” Honer said. “Me and Smokey the Bear were going to hang out in the cabin in the woods, and that’s how I was going to spend my life.”

Go to full story >

Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD) was recognized recently as the Recycled Water Large Agency of the Year by the California Chapter of the WateReuse Association.

The award recognizes EMWD for its comprehensive approach toward investing in its recycled water program to ensure that resources are maximized.

EMWD treats approximately 45 million gallons of wastewater per day at regional water reclamation facilities located in Moreno Valley, Perris, San Jacinto and Temecula. That highly treated wastewater becomes recycled water.

Again in 2016, EMWD achieved 100 percent beneficial reuse of its recycled water supplies, which
were used for irrigation of agriculture, parks, schools, recreational facilities, golf courses, public
landscaping and industrial uses.

Recycled water accounts for 36 percent of EMWD’s water supply portfolio. That figure is among the
highest in the nation.

“We are honored to be selected as the Agency of the Year,” EMWD Board President David Slawson said. “Recycled water is an incredibly valuable asset that allows us to responsibly maximize our resources and reduce dependence on imported water supplies. EMWD is committed to continually investing in our recycled water system for the benefit of all of our customers.”

EMWD has invested nearly $200 million in its recycled water program over the past 20 years. The
investments have resulted in a fully integrated recycled water supply, storage and distribution
system that provides a level of service commensurate with the potable water system.

In 2016, EMWD broke ground on its North Trumble Road Recycled Water Storage Pond, which
increases seasonal storage capacity by 900 acre feet. The facility came online in early 2017 and is the first EMWD project funded in part through Proposition 1 – the Water Bond passed by voters in 2014.

EMWD also recently began work on shallow recovery wells adjacent to its Winchester Ponds. These
75-foot deep wells will recover the recycled water from the ground and pump it back into the storage  ponds for beneficial use. The first phase is anticipated to recover several hundred acre feet of recycled water each year.

[Read more]

Getting rid of waste the clean way: Redwood City company finds a way to turn biosolids into fertilizer with no energy

Source: Daily Journal

Though most don’t think about what happens after a toilet is flushed, Dario Presezzi and his team of five have been hunkered down in trailers at a Redwood City wastewater treatment plant for the last five years laser focused on just that.

Presezzi is the CEO of Bioforcetech, a company working on a system that creates the energy required to turn the human waste collected from wastewater treatment plants into a rich fertilizer.

Starting in April, the small team of Italian natives that make up the Bioforcetech team have the opportunity to make a large dent in a problem most prefer not to think about — what happens to the truckloads of human waste processed at wastewater treatment plants — when they will begin processing half, or 7,000 tons, of the Silicon Valley Clean Water treatment plant’s biosolids, a friendly term the Bioforcetech team uses for human waste.

For Daniel Child, manager of the Silicon Valley Clean Water treatment plant, the Bioforcetech team’s work offers another option for solving a problem with few tried and true solutions. Currently, the biosolids that come through the plant are spread out on land to be dried by the sun for days before they are trucked out of the plant to fertilize farms in Solano County or nearby cities like Sacramento or Modesto.

“Disposal of biosolids is an ongoing challenge in the state of California,” he said. “It’s always good to have more than one option.”

When Presezzi and a few colleagues came to the Silicon Valley Clean Water treatment plant from Italy to explore how their system could work in the United States in 2011, it wasn’t clear the marshy land at the tip of Redwood Shores would become home to their offices.

But ever since 2011, when the plant treating wastewater from Redwood City, San Carlos, Belmont and other jurisdictions voiced support for their team, the six members of the Bioforcetech team have been hard at work refining a college project.

 

Go to full story >

CASA recently announced they are re-doubling efforts to encourage the State Water Board to pass new direct potable reuse regulations.

CASA will work closely with WateReuse California to seek passage of AB 574 by Assembly Member Bill Quirk from Hayward. WateReuse California is sponsoring AB 574, which would change the definitions of different types of potable water reuse and set a deadline for the State Water Resources Control Board to complete its regulations for potable reuse for raw water augmentation. The bill is co-sponsored by the California Coastkeeper Alliance, and is an important step towards advancing water recycling in California.

Help support this legislation by downloading a support letter template from the CASA website (doc) >

Read our coverage of the State’s DPR regulatory process >

The City worked thoughtfully with its engineering team to design a wastewater treatment facility that can withstand the test of time. Upgrades will provide capacity for current and entitled projects within the City. The $28.5 million dollar project will provide safe, reliable service to Dixon residents and businesses now and for future generations.

Download Flyer

DATE
Thursday, March 30, 2017

Time:
5:30 PM

RSVP
Please RSVP by March 23, 2017 to: Ashley Alvarez, Administrative Clerk (707) 678-7030 aalvarez@ci.dixon.ca.us

LOCATION
Dixon WWTF
6915 Pedrick Road
Dixon, CA 95620
A complimentary shuttle will be provided by Dixon’s own Readi-Ride service to the WWTF from City Hall (600 East A St., Dixon, CA 95620). 

 
Sponsored by
 
Interdependency is at the heart of the life of a water professional — what we do and how we act ripples throughout the water system that connects us all. And yet, much of our attention remains focused on common or technical-based problems but not with understanding the impact of our actions on the often tightly interconnected system of which we are a part.
 
We know how to solve common problems. Pump breaks? Fix it. Contaminants in the water? Test it. These problems often account for 80% of the problems we face. Other, more complex and complicated systems problems may account for a 20% of our problems, but require 80% of our attention. Increasing the amount of water reuse in a community involves numerous interacting parts and processes, stakeholders with different opinions, time delays and a host actions, reactions and often unintended consequences. Systems thinking is a tool for all water professionals – operators, technicians, chemists, engineers, managers and others — to develop innovative responses to a variety of complex challenges.
 
Linda Booth Sweeney

Linda Booth Sweeney

Want to better understand, communicate and manage complexity? Attend CWEA’s webinar with Systems Thinking expert Linda Booth Sweeney and facilitator Laurie Brenner, Finance and Acquisition Services Coach (Manager), Union Sanitary District.

 
Want to go even deeper on systems thinking? Attend Sweeney’s opening general session on Tuesday, April 25th from 4 – 6 pm at CWEA’s 2017 Annual Meeting in Palm Springs.
“The more we can lift our heads up to talk with others in all parts of the water system, the more we can understand the necessities and challenges of our water colleagues, the more we can find the innovative responses we need to move forward.”
– Garry Parker, CWEA President, Director of General Services, Encina Wastewater Authority

werf-on-site-reg-report

The National Water Research Institute (NWRI) in Irvine recently announced the release of WE&RF’s latest report on re-using wastewater/greywater inside buildings.

A report by NWRI recently released by the Water Environment & Reuse Foundation (WE&RF), “Risk-Based Framework for the Development of Public Health Guidance for Decentralized Non-Potable Water Systems,” offers guidelines to assist public health officials in developing programs to manage and oversee onsite water systems. 

Download the report (free report from WE&RF, sign-in required)

The city of Beverly Hills announced CWEA member, Shana Epstein from the city of Ventura as the new Director of Public Works. A former utilities manager for Beverly Hills, Ms. Epstein is expected to assume her new role on April 24. She replaces Public Works Director and Assistant City Manager George Chavez, who has been filling both positions for more than a year.

“I am honored to return to Beverly Hills and have this opportunity to address innovative challenges with familiar and new colleagues,” Ms. Epstein said.

The Beverly Hills Public Works Director oversees more than 200 employees who develop, construct, inspect, improve and maintain the City’s infrastructure, including traffic lights, sidewalks, street lights, roadways, urban forest and City parks. In addition, the department operates the water, solid waste, wastewater, storm water and parking enterprise operations.

“We are very fortunate to welcome Shana back to Beverly Hills,” said Beverly Hills City Manager Mahdi Aluzri. “Both in Beverly Hills and in Ventura she has proven herself to be an outstanding manager whose knowledge of public works operations and best practices will help guide our Public Works Department into the future.”

Ms. Epstein has served as Ventura’s Water General Manager since May 2011, where she oversaw the water and wastewater operations. Among her many accomplishments in Ventura, she and her staff built a potable reuse demonstration facility to gather data on advanced water purification and educate the public, provided reclaimed water for non-potable uses, wrote a Water Shortage Contingency Plan and oversaw the creation of a Water Commission. In addition, she was named as one of the top 50 Women in Business in 2016 by the Pacific Coast Business Times and Ventura was a National Mayor’s Challenge winner for 2016.

In Beverly Hills, Ms. Epstein was the City’s Environmental Utilities Manager, responsible for water, wastewater, solid waste and storm water services. Prior to Beverly Hills, Ms. Epstein served in the public utilities department for the City of Anaheim. She holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California, San Diego.

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We heard loud and clear from members today that they need more time to register for AC17 in Palm Springs. You got it! Early-bird registration is now extended until 3/24. But hurry get those registrations in soon!

Here’s a great educational opportunity at AC17 – catch HDR’s Kevin Calderwood leading a workshop on Wednesday about pipeline and pump station asset management.

The U.S. EPA, Water Boards, and Sacramento State Environmental Finance Center are co-sponsoring a pair of free, one-day forums to discuss municipal stormwater finance issues, sources, and strategies. The first forum is in Alhambra, near LA, on April 3rd. The second forum is in Oakland on April 5th. Anyone who wants to learn about these issues and share their views on how to address stormwater finance is invited. Refreshments and lunch will be provided. Here’s some basic information about the forums and links to the registration website:

Funding Stormwater: The Next Great Challenge

How do we build successful stormwater finance strategies? These forums address important challenges municipal program managers face in building financial capacity including:

  • Key questions every local program manager must ask and answer before seeking funding
  • Defining your program scope and funding needs
  • Practical advice on developing stormwater program finance plans and budgets
  • Strategies for overcoming barriers to stormwater funding
  • Introduction to available public and private funding sources for capital and O&M needs
  • Advice on funding multi-purpose projects that address stormwater quality and other goals

April 3rd in LA/Alhambra: http://la.stormwater.co/

April 5th in Oakland: http://oakland.stormwater.co/

Admission is free but registration is required.

Logan Olds

Logan Olds, General Manager VVWRA

It’s a letter no agency would ever want to get. A draft FEMA Office of Inspector General report contains language the Victor Valley Water Reclamation Authority (VVWRA) may not have followed all FEMA guidelines for an emergency project contract. They may even ask the agency to refund $32 million.

The emergency project was to rebuild a large sewer interceptor, washed out in a 2010 storm. The report was released in the fall of 2016 after a year of talking with VVWRA managers about the project.

According to press reports, the OIG never mentioned any reporting issues to VVWRA managers during their meetings. They found out about the OIG’s concerns after the draft report ended up in the local newspaper.

The draft report came out of the blue so quickly, the local newspaper the Daily Press called it “A routine call, then a biting audit for VVWRA.” 

In a recent Daily Press Op-Ed VVWRA General Manager Logan Olds, a past CWEA Board Member, defended the project…

To say that we were caught off-guard by the report would be a massive understatement. Only six months earlier, we were told that the audit was 95 percent complete and that our expenses and accounting were “generally acceptable.”

While we appreciate the federal government’s checks and balances, this particular audit trail leaves us baffled — because of both what we were led to believe and the nature of the pipeline project itself…

Whatever the internal dynamics are within OIG and FEMA, we stand ready to defend how this critically important project was managed and accounted for.

Continue reading Logan’s op-ed


Additional news coverage…

 Auditors: VVWRA Mismanaged $32 million in emergency funds

With scathing audit, high desert rate payers might be losers

 

 

by Elaine Connors

Despite the public using infrastructure every moment of every day, from roads to fresh water to waste removal, this important part of the economy is often ignored or taken for granted.  ‘Infra’ means ‘hidden’ or ‘out of sight’ and in many cases vital portions of infrastructure are hidden from public view.

Government on all levels – federal, state, municipal – react to the priorities of those who elect & will re-elect them.

“It is our duty to bring our communities’ and country’s public works infrastructure before those who can do the most to affect change:  the ratepayers and voters.”

“We need to engage the ratepayers. It is their infrastructure. Local governments, Boards of Supervisors and Town Councils all need to be kept informed.  ASCE’s studies have shown that local and regional infrastructure is better cared for when the money stays within the local community.”

Nick Arhontes

Nick Arhontes

Nicholas J. (Nick) Arhontes, P.E. runs a consulting practice focusing on public works and infrastructure. Prior to this he held various positions at the Orange County Sanitation District in Fountain Valley, retiring in March 2016 after over 28 years with OCSD. He is a CWEA, WEF and ASCE member.

“Wastewater collection and treatment, roads, flood control systems and other infrastructure, power grids, water and natural gas pipelines aren’t exciting to most people. The only time they’ll make the news is if something goes wrong with them. We have legions of public servants and private sector service providers dedicating their working lives to making sure things function well. My fellow members of CWEA already know the importance of Infrastructure. They work with it, plan it, maintain and operate it every day.”

How can CWEA members convey the importance of the planning, designing, building, maintaining and renewing of these essential elements?

One way is participating in the creation of an ASCE “Infrastructure Report Card.”  The information contained in an infrastructure report card is used to inform the general public and all levels of government.  Information is always needed to help allocate funding. The Report Card has become an important way water professional communicate with the public about the state of infrastructure. 

The Report Card has been featured on NBC Nightly News, 60 Minutes, NPR and thousands of media outlets. [Read more]

The Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS), the world’s largest advanced water purification facility of its kind, has been online since January 2008. The project is a joint partnership between the Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) and the Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD).

On January 22-23, 2017, OCSD saw influent flows that had not been seen since 1995. OCSD experienced peak flows of up to 586 million gallons per day (mgd) coming into both of their wastewater treatment plants. As events started to unfold, OCSD staff worked tirelessly to ensure that its facilities could handle the unprecedented flows and OCWD staff worked to ensure that the GWRS would continue to run at its normal 100 mgd flow rate. This alleviated any concerns that flows would exceed their discharge capacity of the five mile outfall line and force OCSD to use its one mile outfall, which would have resulted in beach closures.

“I am very proud to be part of this organization,” said OCSD Board Chairman Greg
Sebourn. “Facing the highest flows ever seen at OCSD, we were able to keep the flow in the
pipes without any interruption in service to our customers. This was possible through the hard work and dedication of our staff, and the sound policy making, foresight and commitment of our past and current board to invest in infrastructure for the future. All of these factors came into play to allow OCSD to stay true to our mission of protecting public health and the environment, even during challenging times.”

OCWD originally planned to develop a project to replace and increase flows of its predecessor Water Factory 21, a sophisticated treatment plant that provided high-quality water for the Talbert Seawater Intrusion Barrier. Injection of freshwater into the barrier formed a ridge that kept seawater of the Pacific Ocean from contaminating the Orange County Groundwater Basin. The basin provides about 75 percent of the drinking water needs for north and central Orange County, California. [Read more]