OCWD Helps Guide State Effort to Improve Operation of Wastewater Treatment Plants

Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) Operations Manager Tyson Neely was appointed by the State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) to serve as an advisory committee member on its Wastewater Operator Certification Program (WWOCP). Tyson joins CWEA members Chander LeTulle and Jeff Carson on the Committee. Tyson fills the seat recently added by Assembly Bill 2890, which was approved by Governor Jerry Brown in 2016 adding one water recycling operator to serve on the committee to represent water recycling plants.

The WWOCP Advisory Committee has many responsibilities that affect the overall success of the operation of treatment plants statewide. Since 1972, this State Water Board committee examines and certifies wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) operators for competency to operate WWTPs and, since 1994, registers contract operators to operate WWTPs. Additional responsibilities include administering wastewater treatment plant certification examinations, certifications and certification renewals; and classifying wastewater treatment plants. There are approximately 6,000 active certified wastewater treatment plant operators.

Tyson began working at OCWD in January 2007 as an operations shift supervisor, and in 2008, was promoted to operations manager (chief plant operator) to provide operational oversight of the Groundwater Replenishment System’s (GWRS) Advanced Water Purification Facility (AWPF) and the Green Acres Project (GAP) Title 22 recycled water plant.

“With more than 30 years of experience, Tyson is the right person for the job,” remarked OCWD President Denis Bilodeau. “Here at the District, he has supervised the successful operation of the world’s largest water recycling plant of its kind, the GWRS, since its startup in 2008. Coupled with his previous water and wastewater experience, Tyson brings valuable knowledge, data and insight that will influence the direction for state operator training requirements and certification. The District is behind Tyson 100 percent. As an industry leader this is what we are called to do and OCWD will do everything it can to support this effort,” he added.

OCWD has been a global leader in water recycling since the 1970s, implementing world-renowned projects such as Water Factory 21, the GWRS and the Green Acres Project. Its staff and board frequently participate in workgroups, expert panels, advisory boards, research projects, studies, and committees to provide first-hand experience and guidance gained from implementing and operating these successful projects. OCWD takes its role seriously and continues this important work to further advancements for Orange County and the industry at-large.

Additional members of the WWOCP Advisory Committee include: two people from a statewide organization representing wastewater treatment plant operators and supervisors who are employed in a wastewater treatment plant as an operator or supervisor; two people from statewide organizations representing municipalities, including counties or private utility wastewater treatment plants; two people from statewide organizations representing local sanitation agencies, other than agencies which represent municipalities, including counties or private utility wastewater treatment plants; a professional engineer specializing in sanitary engineering; a person from a university or state university school or division of engineering; and a member of an organized labor union which represents wastewater treatment plant operators; and a water recycling operator to represent water recycling treatment plants. Each of the 10 Advisory Committee members is nominated to represent a particular segment of the wastewater treatment field and serves a four- year term. To learn more about the committee and its members, please visit http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/operator_certification/advisory_com/.

For more information about OCWD and its water reuse projects, visit www.ocwd.com.

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Megan Barillo

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