Radhika Fox, CEO of the US Water Alliance and based in San Francisco, will be the facilitator for our AC17s One Water workshop. But what does “one water” mean? Radhika explains in an op-ed originally published by the US Water Alliance and reprinted with permission.

Building 21st Century Infrastructure for 21st Century Cities

Radhika Fox, CEO US Water Alliance

Radhika Fox, CEO US Water Alliance

The creation of modern water and wastewater systems was one of the most significant public health achievements of the 20th century. Drinking water treatment and systems brought safe, reliable drinking water to homes and businesses. Clean water systems eliminated deadly diseases such as cholera and typhoid and helped extend life expectancy in the U.S. by 30 years. But the systems built 100 year ago were for communities that look completely different than today.

After working around the clock for 70, 80 and even 100 years, water and wastewater infrastructure has been the victim of deferred maintenance for decades, putting our infrastructure and resources at risk.

About 650 water main breaks occur every day – that’s one every 2 minutes—leading to 7 billion gallons of water and $2.6 billion lost through leaky pipes.

In addition to aging infrastructure, water and wastewater systems face additional stresses that builders of the 20th century never expected. They were designed for cities and towns with much smaller populations than they have today. That growth is straining water systems. And in the face of changing climates, intense rainfall, extreme drought, and rising sea levels make it increasingly difficult to maintain safe and reliable operation.

[Read more]

CWEA members are invited to attend CWEA’s Annual Business Meeting and vote on the incoming CWEA Slate of Officers.

This year, the voting session will occur April 28 at 11:00 AM—11:30 AM at the beginning of the Awards Luncheon at CWEA’s Annual Conference.

You do not have to register for the Annual Conference to attend the Annual Business portion of the Awards Lunch; however, you need to notify staff at the conference registration desk if you wish to attend that portion without registering for the conference or the lunch. Be there promptly at 11:00 AM to exercise your vote. If you can’t attend, submit a proxy by April 7th.

This proxy allows you to grant another member in attendance the right to vote on your behalf. Contact Victoria Thornton at CWEA to obtain the form or download from CWEA’s website.

For more information on nominees, go to: www.cwea.BoardNominees_2017.pdf

  • Vice President from the North—Kevin Calderwood
  • Director from the North (to be Treasurer)—Kenneth Merkle
  • Director from the South—Victoria Conway
  • WEF Delegate Director from the North—Matt Winkelman


  • Southern Regional Committee Chair/Director—Nikki Crumpler
  • Technical Certification Program Chair/Director—Anthony Pirondini

Proxy forms can be found here:

Significant Risk of Flooding in Northern California Flood Preparedness and Response Tools for Water Utilities
Widespread flooding can cause major power outages and damage to drinking water and wastewater utilities. EPA has developed tools to help you mitigate the threat of flooding and take action during an emergency. You can use the resources below to increase your overall flood resilience and emergency preparedness.

Flooding Incident Action Checklist
Use this “rip and run” checklist to respond to and recover from flooding in your area. It outlines key actions that can be taken immediately before, during, and after the event to mitigate impacts.

Flood Resilience Guide
This interactive, user-friendly guide contains worksheets, best practices, videos and key resources to help water utilities build resilience to flooding. The Guide’s four main sections include:

  • Overview of flood resilience
  • Developing an approach to flood resilience
  • Identifying flood mitigation measures
  • Flood resilience pilot project

The Federal Funding for Utilities in National Disasters (Fed FUNDS) tool helps drinking water and wastewater utilities identify pre- and post-disaster funding opportunities and offers tips on how to apply.

Additional Resources
EPA Emergency Response for Drinking Water and Wastewater Utilities

The following CWEA members recently became WEF Life Members. Congratulations!

  • Richard F. Luthy
  • Roger V. Stephenson
  • Adam Olivieri
  • Walter Bishop

Individuals who have been a member of WEF and one or more WEF Member Association for 35 or more consecutive years, and are at age 65 or older, are eligible to apply for WEF Life Membership. The WEF Life Membership application should be completed and sent to:

Nick Bardis
601 Wythe St.
Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone:  (703) 684-2400 x7731
Fax: 703-684-2481

Melissa Morton

Melissa Morton

Melissa Morton graduated with dual degrees in materials science and civil engineering from the University of California, Davis and has been employed in public works for 30 years. When the Assistant Public Works Director of the City of Benicia announced she was retiring, she asked Melissa about the job. Melissa says she always looked at these types of changes as opportunities to learn and grow. She had to learn quickly as her experience in water treatment and wastewater was minimal. Melissa now operates as District Manager of the Vallejo Sanitation and Flood Control District, which was also the result of a retirement vacancy. Now with almost three years under her belt at Vallejo, we asked Melissa what impacts the retirement wave has made on her current role and how she breathed new life into this roll at Vallejo.

How were you introduced to the water/wastewater treatment profession?

I have been working in the Public Works Field for 30 years, and had some exposure to small water and sewer districts under assessment districts at Contra Costa County.  However, I didn’t work for a full service City until Benicia in 2010.  When the Assistant Public Works Director retired a year later, the Public Works and Community Development Director asked me whether I was interested in her position.  Because I am a firm believer in the opportunity to learn new things, I was excited about the chance to work in water and sewer and jumped headlong into an effort to complete a fee study for both the water and sewer utilities, which included master plans and the associated budget modifications for both utilities.

How have retirements impacted Vallejo’s leadership and what have been the highlights and challenges of building a new leadership team?
This time next year, all of the Leadership Team (department heads) but one will be new.  Retirements have precipitated hiring a District Clerk, District Engineer, Finance Director, Director of Safety and Risk Management, and a Field Operations Superintendent.  Two others are planning retirements in the next year.  I am very fortunate to have inherited a tightly knit, hardworking team, and with each new addition to the leadership team, the entire team has been involved in assessing potential candidates.  While I make the final decision, interactions between the top two or three candidates and the rest of the team are important to assure the group continues to be high-functioning in their efforts.  All of the new department heads are very different from their predecessors, but collectively, the new qualities they bring to the table enhance the team as a whole.

What was your focus in the first few years as DM and what are your longer term goals?

In a goal setting session with our Board of Trustees in October 2014, we discussed several new programs with the Trustees and gained their support in pursuing all of these objectives.  We have a new performance evaluation system that is goal-based being implemented, and we have completed the first year of a three year asset management program that will not only define staffing levels needed for ongoing plant maintenance, but will define replacement costs and schedules for infrastructure renewal.  This important information will be incorporated into a long range financial plan, and rate study that will also establish a recommended reserve for the Trustees to consider for adoption.  We are also in the process of branding to simplify the District’s name, logo and mission to clearly define to the community, the services we provide for improved customer service and accessibility.

What advice do you have for a new executive who takes on the top leadership post at a utility?

Get to know the managers and supervisors in the organization.  Focus on their skills and their strengths, and tap into the areas where they have a passion for improving the organization.  Make changes to how your utility does business very deliberately so that the team clearly understands the expectations.  I want to be moving forward on changes or new initiatives, not backward because of unforeseen consequences.

Tell us about how you achieved the role of District Manager of Vallejo Sanitation and Flood Control and what does it take to be a utility leader today?

By training and experience, I am a Civil Engineer with 30 years of experience in public works projects and programs.  That education and experience is the foundation I rely on when making decisions.  However, being a leader is not something you absorb.  I have read books, taken classes, hired an executive coach and studied people and their needs right alongside developing my technical skills.  I have worked with, and for many good managers, visionaries and leaders.  Each one has taught me positive and negative things that I have used to become the kind of leader I want to be.  There is no better feeling than knowing that you have mentored someone to success, and you learn a lot about yourself helping them achieve that success.

What would you recommend to someone entering the water/wastewater profession who wants to become a top leader?

Learn how best to coach and mentor people; make considered decisions to move your organization forward; and spend the time and energy necessary to learn to be the kind of leader you would be excited to work for.



Sponsored Webinar – CWEA Tech Talk
Know What’s Going on Inside Your Sewer System with Rehab Certification and Flow Monitoring

Join the discussion on the latest digital sewer system monitoring, testing and certification devices and find out how to monitor, manage and maintain your sewer system for maximum performance. This is webinar is sponsored by Electro Scan and ADS, sorry contact hours are not available.

Thursday, March 30th
11:00am to Noon
This is a free webinar

Register for the webinar >


Speakers include (l-r) Chuck Hansen and Mark Grabowski, Electro Scan; and Rob Larson, ADS

Presentation 1 by Electro Scan:
New Standards for Testing & Certification of Rehabilitation using Electro Scanning Inspection

New guidelines to certify rehabilitation, authored by Ken Kerri, Ph.D., P.E. & published in the new Wastewater Collection O&M manual, finds defects missed by CCTV.

Mark Grabowski, General Manager, Electro Scan, Inc.
Chuck Hansen, Hansen Holdings, LLC

What you will learn:

  1. Implement new guidelines to use Electro Scanning Inspection to prioritize critical sewers by potential infiltration – measured in gallons per minute – before rehabilitation.
  2. Why CCTV inspection should no longer be used to accept CIPP lining projects.
  3. Why California agencies are upgrading rehabilitation specifications requiring Electro Scanning Inspection to certify and accept trenchless lining, point repair, and new pipe installation projects.

Presentation 2 by ADS Echo:
Finally, a low cost, high performance manhole depth meter (ADS ECHO) that optimizes your collection system!

Learn about the many uses of affordable ECHO sewer depth meter and how the ECHO can make the lives of collection system operators much easier.

Rob Larson, Senior Account Executive, ADS Environmental Services

What you will learn:

  1. Learn about equipment and software that will prevent sewer overflows and avoid costly fines.
  2. Learn how to reduce un-needed sewer cleaning operations saving time and money
  3. Learn how to cost-effectively and quickly isolate inflow/infiltration in small basins.

Register for the webinar >

Have a new sewer technology you want to share during a future CWEA Tech Talk? Contact Alec Mackie (510.382.7800 x114) with your ideas.


There are no industry standards for biosolids quality and little information for where and how to use high quality biosolids (HQB) products. WE&RF’s HQB from Wastewater project is evaluating selected HQB products in order to develop criteria that render a material qualified for use in high value markets. Join researchers on Wednesday, February 22, 2017 as they discuss the findings to date, including odor characterization and detection threshold, respiratory activity, and house fly attraction.

Webinar details here>

California and Hawaii American Water have named CWEA member Richard Svindland their new president, effective March 1, 2017. Svindland replaces Robert MacLean, who has served as president of California American Water since 2009.

“We are so pleased to promote both Rob and Rich. It is well-deserved,” said Walter Lynch, chief operating officer at American Water. “I know Rich will take over where Rob left off, ensuring our customers in California and Hawaii receive the best service possible, while continuing to focus on the successful completion of the Monterey Peninsula water supply project. His deep utility experience makes him well-suited for this new role.”

Svindland has more than 25 years of experience in the water and wastewater fields, most recently serving as California American Water’s vice president of operations. Prior to that role, he led Engineering at California American Water, where he managed all of the company’s capital projects to ensure timely and cost-efficient delivery. He also developed capital planning strategies and provided an operational review of existing infrastructure to ensure California American Water’s systems met both the current and future water needs.

Go to full story>

EPA recently published its updated Industrial User Inspection and Sampling Manual for POTWs.

Completed revisions to the 1994 Industrial User Inspection and Sampling Manual for POTWs based on extensive input from experts in the Office of Wastewater Management, and the Office of Science and Technology, and experts in regions, states, and POTWs. The revised Industrial User Inspection and Sampling Manual for POTWs is an inspection support tool provided by EPA for use by field personnel conducting inspections and sampling activities under the Clean Water Act (CWA) National Pretreatment Program. With this revision, inspectors will have access to guidance that reflects changes to the Pretreatment Program and compliance monitoring practices from the past 22 years, such as the 2005 Pretreatment Streamlining Rule. This Manual is not a regulation and, therefore, does not add, eliminate or change any existing regulatory requirements. While EPA has made every effort to ensure the accuracy of the discussion in this guidance, the obligations of the regulated community are determined by statutes, regulations, or other legally binding requirements.

The water sector partnership (which includes WEF and NACWA) has released an update for their Effective Utility Management Primer.

As a water or wastewater utility manager, are these challenges familiar to you?

  • Rising costs
  • Aging infrastructure
  • Increasingly stringent regulatory requirements
  • Population growth
  • A rapidly changing workforce

If so, the 10 Ten Attributes of Effectively Managed Water Sector Utilities and the information in this updated Primer can help you respond to both current and future challenges of the 21st Century. Included in the Primer are five steps to help you begin implementing the Attributes.

Mark Lucas passed away recently after a short illness.  Mark has been the lead Electrical and Instrument technician for Vallejo Sanitation and Flood Control District since 2010 and worked for the City of Escondido and Del Mar Fairgrounds prior to working for the District.  Mark was very active with the Redwood Empire Section as the Chairperson of the O&M committee and helping with other Section events.  He was also very active at the District having been on the Safety and Awards banquet committees and also volunteering as a guide for school tours throughout the year.  Mark leaves behind his girlfriend Roxanne Frisby, 3 children Shana, Andrew and Anthony, his mother Laura and step-father Dave and 4 brothers and sisters, Travis, Melissa, Sabrina and Andrea.  Mark enjoyed fly fishing, camping, cooking and was a pretty good bocce player.  Mark’s passing was very sudden and has left a huge void at the District where many considered Mark a great friend.  The family has suggested that people should donate blood to their local American Red Cross.  A memorial service will happen sometime in March in Southern California.  The District will also have a memorial banquet on 2/23 at 12pm to celebrate Mark.

Our thoughts are with Mark’s family. Please share your condolences in the comment section below.

The 2017 California Financing Coordinating Committee (CFCC) will be hosting six FREE upcoming funding fairs.  The CFCC was formed in 1998 and is made up of seven funding members: five state and two federal. The CFCC Funding Fairs provide opportunities to learn more about available grant, loan and bond financing options for infrastructure projects. These fairs are directed towards local government representatives, water and irrigation district managers, economic development and engineering professionals, financial advisors, and project consultants.

Download the flyer for full details.

April 5, 2017
California Rural Water Association
1234 North Market Blvd
Sacramento, CA 95834
Free parking. Workshop will be Webcast. Access link will be on the CFCC Website at:

May 2, 2017
Shasta Public Libraries
Redding Library, Community Room
1100 Parkview Ave.
Redding, CA 96001

June 6, 2017
Southern California Edison
Energy Education Center
4175 S. Laspina
Tulare, CA 93274

July 19, 2017
Monterey Recreation
Hilltop Park Center
871 Jessie Street
Monterey, CA 93940

August 29, 2017
California State University
San Bernardino Campus
College of Education, Room 105
5500 University Parkway
San Bernardino, CA 92407
Free parking

August 30, 2017
California Regional Water Quality Control Board
2375 Northside Drive, Suite 100
San Diego, CA 92108

For more information, please visit the CFCC website at


Is your Operations and Maintenance (O&M) team feeling overloaded and struggling to prioritize work orders? Maybe you see the need for more strategic approach to maintenance? This workshop provides an in-depth look at asset management philosophies used by many wastewater agencies across the country. The system is known as reliability centered maintenance, or RCM, and provides strategies for managing maintenance priorities.

Learn from some of California’s leading wastewater O&M experts during these interactive workshops. Get a jump on managing your facility’s assets by learning the latest trends and techniques and listening to real-world case studies.

Earn up to 6.5 CWEA contact hours towards Industrial Waste Treatment Operator, Mechanical Technologist, Electrical & Instrumentation, Collection System Maintenance.


As states look to combat dwindling water supplies with DPR projects, operators in some regions could see a changing water treatment landscape.

Source TPO Magazine: Direct Potable Reuse is Coming, but What Does It Mean for Operators?

Communities in California and Arizona could be more drought resistant in the near future, as both states are looking at enacting regulations for direct potable reuse (DPR) — where treated effluent flows directly into a drinking water supply rather than using an environmental buffer (indirect potable reuse). And those new regulations likely will mean new training and certifications for the treatment plant operators working in drought regions.

In California, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) recently wrapped up a report concluding that it’s feasible for the state to write new regulations allowing DPR as long as some research and knowledge gaps are addressed.

Go to full article

cswrpiKnow a Cal State student in need of a great internship? The Cal State Water Resources and Policy Institute (WRPI) has a great program to help connect students with great EPA internships in science, communication, research and in other practice areas…

The California State University (CSU) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 9 (EPA) to establish cooperation between the two entities, including encouraging students to participate in the environmental fields of study and to help EPA attract a workforce as diverse as the public it serves. Implementation of the MOU activities will promote equal opportunity in EPA’s workforce, contribute to CSU’s capacity to provide high-quality education particularly in various environmentally related fields of study, and encourage the participation of CSU students and faculty in EPA’s programs. CSU’s Water Resources and Policy Initiatives (WRPI) is administering the Program.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • enrolled at a CSU campus at least half time while completing internship
  • minimum GPA of 2.5 (unless the EPA project requires a higher GPA)
  • enrolled in an internship course at a CSU campus during the quarter of your internship

Learn more at the Cal State WRPI website >