The California Water Environment Association (CWEA) announced the winners of its 2016 awards program at its Annual Conference in Palm Springs on April 28. Congratulations to these agencies and individuals leading the way in the protection and enhancement of our water environment.
Established in 1929, CWEA’s awards program has grown to acknowledge outstanding achievement in more than 20 categories honoring exceptional California water environment professionals, collection systems, and treatment plants. Categories include Plant of the Year, Collection System of the Year, Public Education 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 the nominees to the 2016 awards program for their diligent work to keep California’s water clean and workforce strong.
CWEA officers are available to make a presentation to CWEA award recipients at agency board or City Council meetings. Please contact Victoria Thornton at firstname.lastname@example.org or (510) 382-7800 x 113.
Photos by Ddaze Phuong, Orange County Sanitation District, Ralph Palomares, El Toro Water District and Julayne Luu. Thank you for capturing these moments!
Special thanks to California based Coombs-Hopkins Company the lead supporter for the CWEA Awards Program.
Coombs-Hopkins sponsorship will allow CWEA to continue upgrading and improving our awards program, including working with CWEA’s technical committees to streamline the nomination process as needed.
Collection System of the Year
The Collection system of the year award is given in recognition of outstanding maintenance programs, regulatory compliance and safety & training procedures.
Awards are given in three categories: Small, Medium and Large.
- Collection System of the Year Small: Carpinteria Sanitary District
Carpinteria’s wastewater collection system is maintained by a staff of skilled individuals.
The collection system is managed by Collection System Supervisor, Matt Oliver. Matt is supported by three collection operators, Eddie Saenz, John Bacchilega and Timothy Gallup. This crew is responsible for cleaning and maintaining 42 miles of sewer pipelines and approximately 4,300 laterals throughout the City of Carpinteria and surrounding areas.
- Collection System of the Year Medium: Cucamonga Valley Water District
The Cucamonga Valley Water District (CVWD) in Rancho Cucamonga is a dynamic, growing organization whose sole purpose is to provide high quality, safe and reliable water and wastewater services, while practicing good stewardship of natural and financial resources. CVWD is one of the leading retail water providers in the region which is attributed to their innovation and leadership in addressing regional and state-wide water issues.
- Collection System of the Year Large: LA Sanitation, the City of Los Angeles
LA Sanitation has embarked on an effort to systematically review and study each sewer line throughout the City to assess its structural and hydraulic conditions in order to plan the Wastewater Capital Improvement Program.
LA Sanitation operates one of the world’s largest sewer systems. They proactively maintain over 6,700 miles of sewers and 49 pumping plants. LA Sanitation crews also maintain the storm drain system, cleaning 100,000 catch basins and removing thousands of tons of trash annually.
Collection System Person of the Year
Collection System Person of the Year recognizes an individual for their innovation and excellence in collection systems maintenance.
- Collection System Person of the Year: Rick Easton from Leucadia Wastewater District
Rick is a member of Leucadia’s Field Services department where he’s served for three years. He says two of the most important things about being a collection systems operator are protecting our environment and serving the community.
Rick is involved in all aspects of day-to-day maintenance. His knowledge combined with his efficient and skillful performance of his duties has resulted in the completion of 187 miles of hydro-cleaning, 110 miles of CCTV inspections and 750 easement inspections in 2016.
Richard D. Pomeroy Award
The Richard D. Pomeroy award is presented to an individual for the practical application of an original concept that expands known techniques of wastewater collection.
- 2016 Richard D. Pomeroy: Henry Solis, Irvine Ranch Water District
Henry has worked for Irvine Ranch for over 20 years. He currently serves as one of two Supervisors in the Collection Systems Maintenance Department. Irvine Ranch won first place as Collection System of the Year in 2015. This is in large part due to Henry’s constant vigilance in pursuing preventive maintenance excellence. His level of professionalism is exceptional. Henry always meets deadlines and strives to do a thorough and complete job with every task he sets out to accomplish.
Gimmicks & Gadgets
The Gimmicks & Gadgets award recognizes innovation and creativity in developing solutions to performing routine tasks or functions in maintenance, operations or construction of wastewater collection systems.
- First Place: Mark Benedetti, Bill Bowers, Lee Sutherland, Glen Bradley, Central Contra Costa Sanitary District, “Portable Hot Oil Recirculating System”
- Second Place: Leonard Pompa, Delta Diablo, “Secondary Fog System Rock Trap Catcher”
- Third Place: Kent Carlson, City of Los Angeles, The “Comet”
CWEA’s Golden Manhole award honors inductees and their employers for their contributions to the increased professionalism in the collection systems field.
- Gordon Times – West County Wastewater District
- Dennis Lambert – Rodeo Sanitary District
- Cleveland Porter – City of Antioch
- William Cassidy – Orange County Sanitation District
The Collection System PICK award recognizes volunteer efforts in service to the CWEA Collection Systems Committee with Professionalism, Ingenuity, Contribution and Knowledge.
- Dennis Wright, Stege Sanitary District
- Mike Wells, City of Livermore
- William Cassidy, Orange County SD
- Jerry Barajas, City of Sunnyvale
- Rex Adams, 3T Equipment
- Rey Mendez City of Pacifica
- Garrett Brown, City of Santa Clara
- Kevin Rogers, CWEA
- Renu Pal, CWEA
- Alec Mackie, CWEA
- Dave Zevely, City of Morro Bay
- Steve Krautheim, Novato Sanitary District
- Troy Minnick, City of Bastrop
- Beatriz Barranco, Santa Cruz County Sanitation Division
- Mark D’Ambra, City of Oakland
- Joe Padilla, City of Merced
Electrical Instrumentation Person of the Year
The Electrical and Instrumentation Person of the Year award recognizes significant contributions to the field and an individual’s contribution to CWEA.
- Electrical Instrumentation Person of the Year: Jon Farr, Central Marin Sanitation Agency
Jon routinely performs work at pump stations and works with fellow staff members across the agency. He also works well with the general public.
His humorous and dry wit easily make people comfortable in his presence and creates a supportive and welcoming work environment.
Mechanical Technician of the Year
The Mechanical Technician Person of the Year Award recognizes outstanding performance, dedication to the job, and for sharing knowledge of maintenance procedures.
- Mechanical Technician Person of the Year: John Seifert, County of Santa Cruz Sanitation Department
John’s co-workers frequently turn to him for knowledge of the collection system, pump stations, generators and treatment plant. They depend on him to help with problems. John is always striving for ways to improve the performance of pump stations, generators and treatment plants.
Operator of the Year
The Operator of the Year award recognizes outstanding contributions to the operations of wastewater treatment facilities and the application of knowledge to improve plant processes.
- Operator of the Year: Steven Chavis, Napa San
Steven says as a public employee, he knows the community counts on him as a certified operator to understand the details of plant operations, including flows, chemical management, and processes, and to keep the facility functioning optimally.
Through his combination of knowledge, training, experience and analysis Steven and his co-workers help NapaSan successfully operate their award-winning wastewater treatment and water reuse facilities.
Laboratory Person of the Year
The Laboratory Person of the Year award recognizes involvement in projects that advance the science of laboratory technology and an individual’s contributions to CWEA.
- Laboratory Person of the Year; Nikki Crumpler, Big Bear Area Regional Wastewater Agency
Nikki is also being honored today with the WEF Laboratory Analyst Excellence Award for outstanding achievements by a Laboratory professional.
Nikki has been with Big Bear for 15 years. This was her first job out of college.
Nikki has taken on new job duties in stride. Those duties now include plant safety; maintaining safety data sheets; managing the chemical inventory for the facility; and developing a business plan.
She has also stepped up testing intervals and reporting due to a new discharge requirement. She has accomplished these new duties in a timely and professional manner.
The Laboratory committee recognizes significant participation in Wastewater Analysis, Education and Planning within a Wastewater Laboratory, along with 10 years of membership in CWEA.
- Crystal Crucible: Mindy Boele, City of Vacaville Utilities Department
P3S Person of the Year
The Pretreatment, Pollution Prevention & Stormwater Person of the Year Award recognizes significant contribution to the profession.
- P3S Person of the Year: Stephen Sealy, Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts
Stephen has been an Industrial Waste Inspector with the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts since 1999. His years of experience and diligent investigatory work serves as a role model, and his positive attitude and patience allows him to effectively communicate with those he’s leading, allowing them in turn to learn and benefit from working with him.
P3S Plant of the Year
The Facility of the Year Award recognizes industrial dischargers that make a significant contribution to the operation of pretreatment systems.
These awards were handed out earlier this year at the P3S Conference in Santa Rosa.
- Sierra Circuits, Large Facility of the Year in the North
- Marcassin Wine, Small Facility of the Year in the North
- US Corrugated of Los Angeles, Small Facility of the Year in the South
Safety Plant (Small, Medium, Large)
Plant Safety is awarded in three categories: small, medium and large. Criteria include number of injuries, lost-time accidents, record keeping, in-house training, emergency response and program implementation.
- Safety Plant (Small): Carmel Area Wastewater District
Carmel is also receiving the Water Environment Federation’s George W. Burke Award as the highest rated agency in the Safety Category
The Burke award was established in 1982 to honor George W. Burke, Jr., for his many years of service to both the water environment field and WEF as staff manager of technical services. Mr. Burke was instrumental in developing WEF’s annual safety survey and assisting in the production of safety training aids and promotional packets.
The Carmel Area Wastewater District is a special district dedicated to the protection of public health and the environment through cost-effective collection and treatment of wastewater and the return of clean water to the environment.
- Safety Plant (Medium): Central Marin Sanitation Agency
As a regional agency dedicated to the health of their community and the environment, Central Marin Sanitation Agency expert staff focuses on providing high quality wastewater-related services for the residents and businesses of central Marin County.
- Safety Plant (Large): Central Contra Costa Sanitary District
Central San is a special district responsible for the collection and treatment of wastewater in a 146 square mile area of central Contra Costa County. Their mission is to protect public health and the environment.
Community Engagement & Outreach Project of the Year (Small, Large)
The Community Engagement & Outreach Program of the Year recognizes significant achievements in promoting awareness and understanding of water quality issues. There are two categories – small and large.
- Community Engagement & Outreach Project of the Year (Small): Ironhouse Sanitary District
Ironhouse Sanitary District’s Program “It’s a school tour at Ironhouse like never before” focused on working with the local school district. Ironhouse gave every sixth grade student a firsthand opportunity to learn and think on a much larger scale. The tour planted the seed of understanding that students can contribute to a cleaner environment by choosing a certain action over another. The incorporation of water recycling and environmental stewardship into the education curriculum continues to nurture the students newfound awareness.
- Community Engagement & Outreach Project of the Year (Large): Wastewater Treatment Agencies of Marin County
Six wastewater agencies came together to form the Wastewater Treatment Agencies of Marin County Public Education Program. The agencies include: Central Marin Sanitation, Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District, Napa San, Sanitary District 5 of Marin, Sausalito Marin City Sanitary District, Sewerage Agency of Southern Marin. Leveraging the resources and staff of six agencies has expanded the budget and the overall diversity of the program. The unique program won the prestigious Dr. Teng-Chung Wu Award from the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board.
Community Engagement & Outreach Person of the Year
The Community Engagement & Outreach Person of the Year recognizes an individual’s achievements in promoting awareness and understanding of water quality issues.
- Community Engagement & Outreach Person of the Year: Angela Lowrey, Delta Diablo
Angela has 25 years of experience in public engagement and community outreach. Angela was introduced to the wastewater industry when she joined Delta Diablo in 2009. Since this time, with limited knowledge about the sector, she has become a trusted and respected spokesperson for the agency and the profession across a diverse range of stakeholders at the local, state and national levels.
Community Engagement & Outreach Film
Every three years the Community Engagement & Outreach committee hosts a film festival competition. There are three categories: Amateur, Semi-Professional and Professional. The films are based on information and issues relating to the field of wastewater treatment.
First Place: Public Education Amateur: Delta Diablo “Welcome to Delta Diablo”
Second Place: Public Education Amateur: Santa Rosa Water “Sewerman, Defender of the Pipes!”
First Place: Public Education Semi-Professional: San Francisco Public Utilities Commission “Adopt a Drain”
Second Place: Public Education Semi-Professional: Central Contra Costa Sanitary District “Maintaining the Flow”
First Place: Public Education Professional: Sacramento Area Sewer District: “Unseen Heroes: It’s a dirty job, but we’re happy to do it.”
Second Place: Public Education Professional: Napa San “Recycled Water Expansion Projects”
Public Education: Training Amateur: Central Contra Costa Sanitary District “DAFF Shutdown & Lockout Tagout” & Training Semi-Professional: ”Aeration Turbine Startup”
Community Engagement & Outreach Newsletter of the Year
The Community Engagement & Outreach Newsletter of the Year Award recognizes achievement in promoting awareness and understanding of water quality issues.
- Community Engagement & Outreach Newsletter of the Year: ”Purple Pipe” by the Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority
The Purple Pipe newsletter has the unique task of reaching out to community, regional leaders, industry experts and employees. Victor Valley strives to make the Purple Pipe informative and entertaining with short, interesting articles on a variety of topics along with a colorful layout. The Purple Pipe includes articles about capital improvement projects, highlights employee milestones, community outreach tours, CWEA events and agency accomplishments.
Engineering & Research Achievement
The engineering achievement award recognizes outstanding projects by an individual, group, or agency. Research Achievement award recognizes outstanding engineering research by an individual, group, or agency.
- Engineering Achievement of the Year: City of Hayward’s Cogeneration Facility
The co-generation system is designed to meet new, strict emission requirements imposed by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. The system removes hydrogen sulfide and silloxanes from the biogas prior to use by the plant’s cogeneration and boiler equipment. The innovative technologies protect the system from harmful gas and ensure clean air standards are achieved.
- Research Achievement of the Year: Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts, Digester Gas Hydrogen Sulfide Control Using a Full-scale Biotrickling Filter
The Sanitation Districts conducted a full-scale test to determine if a biotrickling filter system could remove hydrogen sulfide from digester gas. Testing was done at the Districts largest facility, the Joint Water Pollution Control Plant in Carson.
Based on the results, the Districts is now designing a large scale biotrickling filter to treat 1500 cubic feet per minute of digester gas. The new filter will reduce the amount of chemicals currently used for H2S control and the savings will pay for the new biotrickling filter in less than two years.
This is the Sanitation Districts fifth time winning CWEA’s Research Achievement of the Year since 2000.
Supervisor of the Year
The supervisor of the year recognizes successful mentoring of team members, professional development, and effective communication. CWEA’s Leadership Development Committee selects the winner.
- Supervisor of the Year: Mindy Boele, City of Vacaville Utilities Department
According to the nominator, Mindy is a competent individual with a vibrant personality who is easy to like. She is a true leader who treats people well and leads by example. She works effectively with her staff and other workgroups, which has resulted in excellent working relationships across the agency.
Mindy is a trusted leader. She was recently nominated by her laboratory peers to the State Water Board’s Environmental Laboratory Technical Advisory Committee.
Plant of the Year (Small, Medium, Large)
The Plant of the Year award recognizes accomplishments in compliance, innovative practices, cost effectiveness, and superior plant performance in small, medium and large categories.
- Plant of the Year (Large): Central Contra Costa Sanitary District
Central San’s vision is to be a high-performance organization that provides exceptional customer service and full regulatory compliance at responsible rates.
With the goal of high performance, the team at Central San is committed to excellence and continuous improvement in all aspects of the business.
- Plant of the Year (Medium): Delta Diablo Water Resource Recovery Facility
Beginning in the collection system, through the wastewater treatment process, and continuing through the recycled water system, Delta Diablo produces superior results in all aspects of operations. District staff work diligently to maximize resource recovery and to provide excellent service to our customers at rates that are below the average costs for the region.
- Plant of the Year (Small): Carpinteria Sanitary District
The District’s wastewater treatment facility is run by a team of highly qualified operators under the guidance of Operations Manager Mark Bennett. Mark is supported by the District’s Treatment Supervisor, Mark Rogers and his operations staff: Frank Gonzales, Paul Sweningson, Branson Taylor, Joey Mendoza, Casey Balch and Jude Kiesewetter.
Outstanding Young Professional
The students and young professional’s committee recognizes Outstanding Young professionals who demonstrate excellence in the profession and are under the age of 35.
- Outstanding Young Professional: Joe Gregory, Carmel Area Wastewater District
When Joe joined CWEA in 2012, he had no experience in wastewater and had never worked on a committee. In just four years, he has risen to the position of Safety Committee Chair for the Monterey Bay Section and a committee member on the CWEA Safety Committee. In addition to serving on committees, Joe presented during two safety sessions at this year’s conference.
Kirt Brooks Memorial Water Environment Scholarship
The Kirt Brooks Memorial Water Environment Scholarship is for college students interested in a water career. Many Kirt Brooks recipients have gone on to join our profession and become water leaders.
This year CWEA members are providing over $6,000 in scholarships. In addition, member donations have allowed us to surpass the association’s goal of achieving a $500,000 fund. Please encourage students to apply every December for the scholarship.
- Emily Bettencourt
- Paige Hermanson
- Danielle Salt
Quarter Century Operator Club
The Water Environment Federation is our global association of 33,000 water professionals. The WEF Quarter Century Operator Club recognizes operators for their service to the profession.
This year WEF and CWEA are honored to welcome Mark Bennett from Carpinteria Sanitary Distict into the National Quarter Century Operator Club.
WEF also recognized a member for their outstanding contributions to the association. ABC assists certifying environmental agencies in other states with their water and wastewater programs. WEF, CWEA and ABC are proud to work together on maintaining high standards for our profession.
For his service as WEF’s Representative on the Association of Boards of Certification from 2013 through 2017, CWEA presented this recognition award to Chuck Weir of Weir Technical Services.
WEF Life Members
WEF life members have been with the association for 35 years or more.
- Richard F. Luthy
- Roger V. Stephenson
- Adam Olivieri
- Walter Bishop
- Gary W. Phillips
- Steve Deering
CWEA Quarter Century
The CWEA Quarter Century Recognition Program recognizes water professionals for their commitment to improving the quality of life and protection of the environment. CWEA Quarter Century Recognition Program Honorees have dedicated their careers in a challenging and vital profession – the water environment field.
- James Kemp
- Larry Parlin
- Bruce Corwin
- Doug Nurock
- Dan Seidel
- Lenny Rather
- Bruce Dobey
- Rob Morton
- Marvin Holmes
- Victoria Conway
- Diane Gilbert Jones
- Carl Glass
- Robert Potter
- Raymond Tremblay
- Ian Mackenzie
- Connie Leonard
- Steve Krai
- Robert Ferrante
- William Cassidy
- John Gonzalez
- Mark Bennett
- Richard Brewer
- Dwight Woolwine