Paul Bowen 2015-2016 WEF President

WEF President Paul Bowen blogs about a new program to celebrate wastewater utility excellence and innovation

On the eve of Earth Day last month, WEF and partners NACWA, WERF, and WateReUse, with support from U.S. EPA, launched The Utility of the Future Today Recognition Program.  This exciting new program recognizes wastewater utilities on their journey to become full water resource recovery facilities with enhanced productivity, sustainability, and resiliency. The Utility of the Future Today Recognition Program celebrates the progress and exceptional performance of our nation’s wastewater utilities as they build on innovation success and address local wastewater challenges. The time has come for this recognition.

As president of the Water Environment Federation, I’ll admit to a certain bias when it comes to the nation’s wastewater utilities or water resource recovery facilities as they are known at WEF. They operate 24/7, 365 days a year, to protect public health and the water environment, and are so deserving of recognition for the essential role they play in cleaning water that has been flushed, drained, or entered into our systems through storm drains, and then returning it safely into our environment. Even beyond their critical daily operations, water resource recovery facilities are working toward a future that makes the most of our precious and limited water resources.

Whether it’s reuse of water or biosolids, recovery of energy and nutrients, energy efficiency and generation, and more, many facilities are adopting Utility of the Future (UTF) principles that support smart, sustainable, value-added service to communities nationwide. This is the future of water, and these utilities are creating it every day. The Utility of the Future Today program is an opportunity to recognize their achievements plus facilitate collaboration and continued evolution as a sector.

I’d encourage utilities of all sizes to apply for this very special recognition by June 17. And I’d like to applaud wastewater utilities everywhere for a job well done.

The Water Environment & Reuse Foundation, National Science Foundation, and Environmental Protection Agency are hosting a workshop on protecting wastewater and sewer workers from infectious disease risks. The workshop will be held June 29-30 at the headquarters offices of American Water in Voorhees, NJ. Seeking wastewater treatment plant operators to contribute their knowledge to this event.

Although motivated by the recent Ebola outbreak, the workshop will focus on science and solutions needed to protect wastewater workers from infectious disease risks beyond Ebola. The workshop objectives are to:

  1. Use a job safety analysis approach, outline job tasks during which wastewater and sewer workers could be exposed to pathogens, list potential points of exposure during each task, and estimate the potential magnitude of exposure at each point;
  2. document current occupational safety practices for each potential exposure point;
  3. identify best practices for each exposure point and the gaps between current practice and best practices;
  4. identify barriers preventing uptake of best practices; and
  5. assess the scientific evidence base underlying current recommended best practices and identify critical research gaps.

This project will greatly strengthen the evidence available for protecting the health of the approximately 136,000 wastewater and sewer workers in the United States. In turn, because wastewater treatment plants are one of the main barriers to infectious disease transmission, protecting the health of the wastewater and sewer workforce will contribute to ensuring public health in U.S. communities.

If you are interested in attending this workshop, please contact

Dr. Jackie MacDonald Gibson, Associate Professor
Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Elizabeth Allan, Executive Director

Elizabeth Allan, Executive Director

The Executive Director’s Message reports on actions CWEA’s State Board of Directors takes on your behalf at each quarterly Board meeting. This issue highlights the April 25th Board meeting and April 29th Annual Business Meeting. 

Annual Business Meeting Highlights: State of our Association is healthy

Our 15-16 President, Phil Scott, updated attendees at our April 29th Annual Business Meeting on the State of the Association. The Association received a clean audit for FY14-15 with one departure from Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP),


which we anticipated (for treatment of membership dues on a cash basis).  Our current fiscal year ends June 30th; we’ll report preliminary fiscal year-end results in our Member Value Report (published in October). Our annual audited results are published in the Spring/Summer issue of “Wastewater Professional.”

Through February 2016, financial performance for FY15-16 is on track. Year-to-date income is over budget by 4% ($90k) and expenses are under budget -6% (-$171k). [Read more]


Pleasanton based Shape Inc has signed on to be CWEA’s lead supporter for the 2016 Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP) competition in California. The SJWP program is run collaboratively by CWEA and the Water Environment Federation (WEF), our global organization.

Shape Inc’s support for the SJWP competition will allow CWEA to advertise the program more widely to California high school students, provide travel support for the winner and allow the development of new competitions to promote interest among high school students about California’s water quality and water treatment technologies.

Shape Inc is a distributor of Xylem products here in California including their family of Flygt water and sewer pumps. Founded in 1979, Shape Incorporated is a manufacturer’s representatives firm dedicated to the municipal water and wastewater market, through engineered products and processes. Shape is partners with ITT Industries, one of the world’s largest premier pump manufacturers.

“We’re proud to support the Stockholm Junior Water Price competition in California this year,” said James Merritt, President of Shape Inc and a 1994 inductee of CWEA’s 5S wastewater honor society. “The California drought has shown all of us the importance of treating water wisely. This competition gets young people thinking about water technology and perhaps these students will be the water professionals of the future who save California from the next drought.”

“We’re excited to have Shape Inc as this year’s sponsor of the Stockholm Junior Water Prize Competition in California,” said Elizabeth Allan, Executive Director of CWEA. “Over the years California high school students have turned in outstanding water research projects and we look forward to being inspired once again by the amazing ideas the students have for us this year.”

The Stockholm Junior Water Prize competition is the world’s most prestigious water-science competition for high school students. The winner of the California competition will advance to the national level, and the winner of that event will represent America at the global competition in Sweden.


[Read more]

What an amazing job done by the members of the Annual Conference 2016 Committee, the Education Committee, and the standing committees who developed the program and events for our 88th Annual Conference held April 26 – 29 in Santa Clara. More than 300+ volunteers, including speakers, make our Annual Conference possible. A special thanks to AC 16 Co-Chairs Greg Chung and Julie Taylor.

This year, the committee added new experiences for attendees including:

  • Innovation Learning Center held in the exhibit hall with sessions on collection system technologies, pumps & energy efficiency, advanced treatment technologies, water technology panel, and an onsite reuse panel.
  • A sold out Senior Leader luncheon, held in the Innovation Learning Center in the Exhibit Hall, featuring personal connection time with the opening general session keynote speakers.
  • Free professional portraits during the Opening General Session
  • Ideacache contest – a take on geocaching with fun conference/water related prizes to those who participated. It was a great way to incorporate fun & learning with books, treats and conference survival items with a social media twist.  The hashtag on the CWEAAC Facebook page was #CWEAideas16

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, is here.

If you missed it or want a refresh…AC 16 proceedings will be available at by July 1st.

Check out the photos from the event by CWEA Annual Conference Photographers, Ralph Palomares, Ddaze Phuong & Kent McIntosh.


Did you attend this year’s conference? Let us know how your experience was in the comments below.

See you in Palm Springs, April 25-28, 2017!PalmSpringsLogo palmsprings

CWEA’s Scholarship Fund provides annual scholarships ranging from $500 to $5,000 to students in the wastewater field. Seven scholarships were awarded for the 2016-17 school year, totaling $20,000 at the Annual Conference in Santa Clara. That is the highest amount CWEA has ever awarded from the fund thanks to the donors like you.

Congratulations to the following recipients of the 2016 Kirt Brooks Scholarship:

ChPTfYoUoAAKwz5Vincent Barton
Dominique Bertrand
Amy Pedigo Calderwood
Paige Hermanson
Leslie Rios
Michael Simpson
Coral Taylor

This year during the Annual Conference, CWEA’s 5S members (Select Society of Sanitary Shovelers) collected $1,741.75 in one day. Add that to the generous donations from Local Sections (see amounts below), bringing the total to $22,191.

Fundraising_CWEA__450%2c000Tri-Counties Section = $4,200
Los Angeles Basin Section = $2,500
Redwood Empire Section = $2,000
Monterey Bay Section = $250
San Francisco Bay Section = $3,000
Santa Ana River Basin Section = $7,500 (over the last 12 months)
Sacramento Area Section = $1,000

Those contributions bring the Fund closer than ever to our $500,000 goal. Scholarship donations are accepted throughout the year, not just at our Annual Conference.

Scholarship applications for the 2017-18 school year will be available online in September. The application deadline is January 15—plan now for next year. Scholarship applicants do not have to be members of CWEA; however, they do need a CWEA member to sponsor them.

Learn more about the Kirt Brooks Scholarship program >

Greetings fellow CWEA members!

I’m pleased to announce that the CWEA Supergroup Committee has a new name, Leadership Development Committee.  There are new standing rules and objectives including supporting CWEA members to become effective leaders in their respective fields by providing training and development opportunities that build and expand skills for supervisorial and management roles, for embracing and managing change and for effective communications. This includes leadership skills that will translate into improved agency organization/performance. To meet these objectives, there will be leadership sessions at future CWEA Annual Conferences, Specialty Conferences, and Local Section workshops.  I encourage the Local Sections to adopt the committee’s new name in place of their Supergroup Committee name and start promoting leadership development skills to their local members.

The Leadership Development Committee is still tasked with coordinating the state-level Plant of the Year (POTY) awards (including tours) and the Supervisor of the Year (SOTY) awards and is always looking for volunteers to assist with the judging.

At the Annual Conference in Santa Clara, the Leadership and Development Committee had our first breakfast meeting with 16 attendees!  These individuals will be the core of our Committee and as we move forward they will be instrumental in meeting the Committees objectives.  However, additional volunteers for the committee are always welcome! Topics at the breakfast meeting included what each person in attendance is looking for in developing leaders at their agency and developing their own leadership skills.  We also discussed requiring the POTY winners to provide a judge for next year’s event.  The Committee would also like to design a new lapel pin and logo for polo shirts.  We will also be making changes to the POTY application and questions asked during the tours to streamline the process.

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Members attending CWEA’s April 29th Annual Business Meeting unanimously approved the slate of nominees for the 2016-17 Board of Directors as recommended by the Board:

  • Vice President from the South (becoming President in 2018-19): Connie Leonard, Senior Project Manager at CDM Smith
  • Director from the South (to be Treasurer): Charles Greely, Senior Project Manager at Dudek
  • Director from the North: Hala Titus, Vice President/Project Manager at CDM Smith
  • WEF Delegate Director from the South: Michael Rosenberg, General Water Utilities Supervisor at City of San Diego

Two additional directors joined the Board who are not elected by the general membership, but come to the Board through their respective committees:

  • Northern Regional Committee Chair/Director:Steve Krautheim, Field Services Manager at Novato Sanitary District
  • Technical Certification Program Chair/Director:Sam Rose, Superintendent-Wastewater Collection System at South Placer Municipal Utility District

Garry Parker, Director of General Services with Encina Wastewater Authority, took office as CWEA’s President on April 29th at the Annual Conference business meeting/awards luncheon. Debi Lewis, Senior Engineer with MWH, took office as our President-Elect. Jim Clark, Vice President with Black and Veatch and a WEF Past President, installed the entire 2016-17 Board at the Annual Business Meeting.

You can find the CWEA Board contact list at

CertPrepPath2013RESIZESecure your spot today for one or both of 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 & Friday
June 2, & 3, 2016
                                                                   Friday, June 3, 2016
CWEA/Sacramento Area Section                                          CWEA/San Diego Section
Sacramento Area Sewer District                                            Alvarado Employee Training & Dev. Center
10060 Goethe Road                                                                 5510 Kiowa Drive
Sacramento, CA  95827                                                           La Mesa, CA  91942
Earn up to 7.2 CWEA Contact Hours                                    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.

WEFTEC 2016 will be held at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center, Sept. 24–28. Register now for the opportunity to earn educational credits; learn in sessions, workshops, and other interactive formats such as on tours and during luncheons; network with many other attendees from around the world; and see technology from approximately 1000 exhibiting companies.

Read more about the offerings at WEFTEC in the WEF Highlights article “WEFTEC 2015 Attendees Take Advantage of Interactive Education and Networking.”

What 2 Flush Summit CPSC Next Generation Drug Take Back FINAL 5_1_2015

The California Product Stewardship Council (CalPSC) is working hard to implement a drug take back program ordinance in Los Angeles County that is based on similar successful ordinances in Alameda County and 5 other California cities. The ordinance will require drug makers to set-up and run the program for the benefit of Los Angeles County residents.

Robust and convenient drug take back programs (receptacles in all pharmacies) will help send mountains of unused old pills to a safe location for proper disposal. As it stands many people are flushing or trashing unused pills which is bad for the environment.

According to a recent CalPSC article…

PhRMA is currently required to operate such drug take-back programs at least in Kings County, Washington, Alameda County and five other California counties.  As overall management costs of their stewardship organization are spread over more programs, they will experience economies of scale, a benefit that will only increase if Los Angeles is added to the mix. Drug companies already operate and fund very similar programs in Canada and Mexico.

Continue reading the article

Earlier this year CWEA joined CalPSC and several other associations in advocating for better drug take back programs.

In a recent article posted in the Environment Leader, CWEA member Chris Tyhurst,  Supervisor for the Montague Water & Sewer Department discusses a wastewater treatment system installed by the city of Montague to help eliminate built-up sludge using the Blue Frog System at the city’s Water & Sewer Department treatment facility. The technology has already begun the process of digesting organic sludge that was built-up in Montague’s lagoons.

The traditional method of managing sludge involves dredging lagoons mechanically and disposing of the “biosolids” on farmland, or sending to a landfill. However, these practices are running into increased regulatory restrictions due to the concerns about what is contained in the biosolids, including chemicals, toxic metals and other pathogens.

“We were faced with odor problems as well as a significant sludge buildup in our primary ponds,” said Chris Tyhurst, Supervisor for the Montague Water & Sewer Department, in a statement. “We were planning on having them dredged, which is quite expensive.

“We are hopeful that we will see a substantial reduction in our sludge levels and odor problems in Pond 1. If all goes as planned, the Frogs should continue to digest the incoming load and keep the sludge level at a minimum for many years to come.”

View the full article to see how the Blue Frogs work.

One week ago today, 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.FullSizeRender

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]

It is with the greatest of sadness that we deliver to you today the heartbreaking news of the death of our colleague and friend, Jack Betourne. Jack passed away peacefully on Thursday, April 28, 2016 from liver failure. Jack was a longtime member of CWEA and served as Treasurer of the P3S Committee. Our most heartfelt condolences and sympathy to his family.

Virginia and Jack’s children are hosting a memorial/wake gathering at 1424 F Street (between Spencer and Georgia) in Napa starting at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 21.

View Jack’s obituary.

The Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) and LIFT Steering Committee recently updated their National Water Resource Recovery Test Bed Facility Network and Directory connecting researchers, new technology providers, and other innovators in the water resources recovery industry with test facilities.

The test bed network and directory was developed as a result of recommendations from the Energy-Positive Water Resource Recovery (EPWRR) Workshop hosted jointly by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the National Science Foundation (NSF) on April 28-29, 2015, the Intensification of Resource Recovery Forum hosted by WEF and WERF on August 9-11, 2015, and the LIFT Steering Committee. The directory helps innovators locate potential facilities for testing new technologies at various scales to help manage risk and accelerate adoption of innovation.

The 8 California Agencies listed are:

Cal Poly State University Test Bed
Fairfield-Suisun Wastewater Treatment Plant
Delta Diablo Testbed
Codiga Resource Recovery Center at Stanford
Hill Canyon Wastewater Treatment Plant
Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority
San Jose Creek West
Encina Water Pollution Control Facilities

View the full map here: