From Coombs Hopkins:

The Coombs-Hopkins Company is pleased to announce a new addition to the CHC team, Brad Leidecker as our newest Sales Engineer. Brad will be based in the Walnut Creek, California office covering portions of the Bay Area and areas north of Sacramento.

Brad brings a breadth of consulting and public experience to the CHC team that will serve our Principals and Clients well. He has over ten years of practical and technical experience covering planning, design, construction and project management.

Brad previously served as an Associate Engineer for the Central Contra Costa Sanitary District.

CWEA Mark Pattison leaves his mark on Crestline Sanitation District

As reported in the Applehorn News – story and photo by Gail Fry

From left to right: Crestline Sanitation District President Matthew Philippe, General Manager Mark Pattison and Operations Manager Rick Dever at the Summit Valley discharge site on November 14, 2016, where they met with Skanska employees to begin delivery of recycled water for the State Highway 138 (East) Re-alignment Project. (Photo by Gail Fry)

After 37 years as an employee with the Crestline Sanitation District, general manager and CWEA member Mark Pattison announced his retirement effective March 31. Pattison will be replaced by former operations manager and CWEA member Rick Dever. Dever was appointed as the new general manager at the district’s March 9 regular meeting.

In an interview with The Alpenhorn News, Pattison shared how he started his career in the wastewater field as a lab tech, where he came to know Crestline Sanitation District (CSD) employees and was eventually hired as an “operator-in-training,” He worked his way up to operator I, operator II, lead plant operator, chief plant operator, operations manager, interim general manager and then general manager.

Pattison opined changes to regulatory requirements were the biggest change he experienced at the district during his 37-year career. At one time during his long career, CSD was operated by San Bernardino County Special Districts. He recalled when employees worked all over the county.

On November 4, 2008, residents of Crestline and surrounding communities voted in favor of making CSD an independent district. They elected an advisory board consisting of Ken Stone, Sherri Fairbanks, Matthew Philippe, Mike Pate and Penny Shubnell. The district became officially independent in October 2010.

Pattison was promoted to interim-general manager on November 9, 2012, when CSD General Manager Kathy Whalen retired. Five months later, on April 11, 2013, Pattison was appointed general manager.

Three months later Rick Dever was appointed operations manager. Dever, a Crestline resident since 1974, had worked at Lake Arrowhead Community Services District for 27-years, earning the position of operations foreman.

Pattison explained one of CSD Strategic Plan’s goals was to “always put the agency in a position where there was someone else who could step in and do the job” and so Pattison took Dever under his wing.

Accomplishments during Pattison’s term as general manager include replacing two pumps and generators at its Forest Shade Pump Station in August 2013, protecting Lake Gregory from potential sewage spills, negotiating and finalizing an agreement with its newly formed employee union at a May 27, 2014, special meeting, televising and inspecting 70 miles of sewer pipeline, cleaned 11,000 feet and slip-lined 5,315 linear feet and rehabilitated six manholes by December 2014, upgraded its billing system in mid-2014, implementing a five year rate increase after six years “to improve its infrastructure at its October 5, 2014, meeting, evaluating its outfall line in late 2015, filing its ongoing lawsuit against the City of Hesperia to protect its right to continue discharging effluent on the Las Flores Ranch in Summit Valley on February 25, 2016, passing a random audit conducted by the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control board mid-2016, completing its 2016-2020 Strategic Plan, receiving approval from the State Water Resources Control Board to sell its recycled water late 2016, and contracting to sell its recycled water to Skanska for its State Highway 138 (East Re-alignment Project).

Pattison credited Dever with improving the district’s safety program, lowering the district’s workman’s comp insurance rates, accountant/bookkeeper Dawn Grantham with upgrading its billing system and electro-mechanical specialist Jordan Dietz with working on a SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) (wireless) system for the district.

Dever is confident he can lead the district into the future based on its supportive board and great staff. His first goal is completing a master plan taking the district “20 years into the future.”

“We were comfortable promoting Rick and I really enjoyed working with Mark, he was a very competent manager,” CSD Director Penny Shubnell voiced.

“Rick is just as capable as Mark,” Shubnell opined, explaining she has “full faith” in Dever that he will “take it to higher limits” and thinks “the whole board would agree with me.”

The Water Environment Federation (WEF) and the American Water Works Association (AWWA) have released the first set of no-cost materials to help members communicate about the value and importance of water. The materials are designed to complement and work in collaboration with the national Value of Water Campaign messaging and resources.

As two of the founding partners of the Value of Water Campaign, WEF and AWWA are working together to provide supplementary tools and resources to further support WEF Member Associations, AWWA Sections, and utilities in your efforts to educate and inform consumers, public officials, decision-makers, and stakeholders about the value of water, water and wastewater services, and the need for infrastructure investment.

This staggered rollout begins with a series of U.S. infographics, with three more expected later this month. Additional materials will be added to the toolkit and released through June, including a communications plan to assist with implementing these materials according to your specific needs and target audiences.

The materials are available for download at Share these resources with fellow members and utilities.

Please contact Lori Harrison in WEF’s Communications Department with any questions.

National Environmental Laboratory Professionals Week (NELPW) is April 23 -29th – the same week as the CWEA Annual Conference in Palm Springs!

The Water Environment Federation Laboratory Practices Committee (WEF LPC) is joining the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) in recognizing the 2017 National Environmental Laboratory Professionals Week. NELPW celebrates laboratory professionals’ contributions to public health.

Download this flyer for activity and resource ideas for recognizing the value of laboratory professionals’ work and share your laboratory employees.

Feel free to come up with your own ideas too!  Take pictures, tweet (#LabWeek) and send stories or suggestions for next year’s activities to WEF ( and APHL (





P3S2017 Brewery session

P3S2017 Brewery session

Presentations from the P3S 2017 Conference in Santa Rosa are now available at


Thank you to all who came and presented! We are extremely grateful you shared your time and expertise with the P3S community. For those interested, an archive of presentations from pre-2017 P3S conferences and training events are available on our old website at

Chris Lundeen, CWEA Director of Certification, has accepted a position at a heath care professional certification board based in San Francisco. 

“It’s an exceptional opportunity for Chris, one that doesn’t come along often,” said CWEA executive director Elizabeth Allan, “so I’m thrilled for him on a personal level while at the same time very sad that we will be losing him.  Chris has been such a valuable member of CWEA’s staff for 22 years, growing both our certification program and our organization.”

Chris recently reflected on his career at the Association, including his fun initiation with live turkeys and biosolids. “On my first day on the job,” he recalled, “I flew down to Ventura for the Southern Regional Training Conference, and experienced my first Tri-Counties Section ‘Turkey of the Year’ banquet. They rolled in live turkeys in cages, while members marched onto stage in orange t-shirts indicating that they had also been honored as turkeys at one time or another. Then, at some point, they watched a video of a guy skiing down a huge pile of biosolids. By the way, no turkeys were injured or eaten at that banquet. I can’t say what might have happened to them the following Thanksgiving week though.

“I thought, ‘what is this outfit I’ve signed up with? I might be able to fit in here!’

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Much has happened since then and Chris acknowledges he’s learned a lot about water and wastewater in his time with us.

What did you know about the wastewater industry when you took the job and what have you discovered about the profession?

I came to CWEA with some certification experience, but I had no water background; it was all new to me. I quickly learned that CWEA serves an industry with a wide range of occupations—collections, maintenance, operations, managers and superintendents, laboratory, and environmental compliance. It was really eye-opening. I attended a lot of meetings at wastewater treatment plants and always took up offers for plant tours. It was a great experience being around the plants, learning a lot, and working with the operations and maintenance staff. It was fascinating.

Was that your favorite thing about the job?

That, and the fact that CWEA is a huge organization doing lots of things. It was fun to go all over the state and meet people from every different corner of California, from San Diego to Eureka. By getting familiar with all the different communities around our state, you become a true Californian.

What are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of our accomplishments, helping people in our industry build and maintain great professions and careers. Our people do a great job, and they’re clearly in the middle of one of the most important sectors of our economy and society. With water scarcity, environmental issues, and population growth, nearly everyone in California is affected by what we do.

You mentioned the turkeys. Was that the funniest moment of your career?

There have been a lot of hilarious moments over the years. One of the more memorable ones to me was probably when we made some changes to the certification program, adding new requirements necessary for members to keep their certification. The changes were pretty standard, as far as certification programs go, but there was some resistance because we were introducing an additional requirement. After I gave a presentation on the changes for one of the southern sections, many of those attending gathered around me for a vigorous discussion. I didn’t think much about it until a month or so later when a big picture of me was published in the CWEA Bulletin showing me with an older gentleman in a white lab coat who got quite animated waiving his finger at me. Wasn’t a great picture of either of us, but it was kind of hilarious.

What about some of the people who mentored you, who worked with you?

There were so many over the years, and some go way back. I have had so much support over the years from our volunteer leaders. Many future leaders of CWEA worked with me on certification program development and other CWEA projects. Simon Watson, past president of CWEA, was really fun to work with back when we were developing plant maintenance exams at OCSD, back when he wore a blue shirt with his name embroidered on it. He really knew how to ask the right questions, and challenge the other subject matter experts and me, with respect and humor. Phil Scott, another past president, was there with me when we went through the first validation of the collection systems exams way before he was on the Board or became CWEA President. Phil is so fun to work with and has such a great sense of humor. Carrie Mattingly was another up-and-coming leader who worked with me on our certification program years ago while she was working full time and getting a degree. She eventually became CWEA President and now holds a top utility management position. She taught me to toot my own horn once in a while and showed me that a little hard work won’t kill you, and I introduced her to Ethiopian cuisine… and Ethiopian coffee.

On the staff side, I’d have to say former CWEA Executive Director Lindsay Roberts was a wonderful role model, mentor and leader whose support made me realize I could have a challenging and rewarding career in association management and certification. She is a captivating story teller and one of the smartest and most caring people I have ever met. After Lindsay left, Elizabeth Allan continued to support my professional development 100 percent, and gave me the opportunity to take on so many different roles here at CWEA. I will benefit from that always.

In your 22 years here, you worked on many association activities in addition to certification. What are some of the highlights?

I had the opportunity to work on lots of things at CWEA besides certification….local sections, leadership, publications, the website, just about everything except managing events—although I did help out with events whenever needed. I was always learning new things.

I managed our publications for a few years. For a while we went all electronic (no print media), but it caused a bit of a backlash. We went back to print and an electronic publication. Maybe we were too early. A good mix is important. I think we like to have access to all different forms of media, rather than all one way or the other.

A few years ago we installed a new Association Management System that gave us the technical ability to do more electronic communication with members and certificate holders. We have a huge mix of people in the association, representing different occupations and career levels, and we try to make our communications relevant to each member. However, when we launched the  new system we had emails for only about 65 or 75 percent of the membership. Now it’s more like 97 percent. We’ve made the transition to more electronic communications, making it easier to help candidates through the certification application process and to get certified. Before it was phone calls and letters. We’re seeing a change.

At the same time. We’ve sped up the timeline for the publications. I think Alec Mackie and the communications team are doing a great job. They have taken our communications to the next level.

Your new job with a health care professional certification board will be different from your CWEA duties. What are some of your new challenges?

I have a feeling many of the challenges will be similar to those I have had here at CWEA running our certification program, but a with new group of content development experts, staff and other leaders. I am really looking forward to joining a new team, learning from them, contributing in new and different ways, and making new friends. However, I’ll miss not being a part of the water environment community in California.

What advice do you have for your successor?

Get to know everybody. There’s a lot to learn. Have a sense of humor. Definitely get to know the volunteer leaders and subject matter experts. Also, take care of your small, but mighty, certification team and all of the other staff who support the certification program. Listen to them. They’re all critical to your success.

Allan emphasized Lundeen’s contribution in her announcement of his departure:

“Chris been an essential part of the progress the Association has made,” she said. 

“When Chris started, CWEA had about 5,000 members and 3,000 certificate-holders; now we have about 9,700 members and about 5,700 certificate-holders. 

“Chris was instrumental in advancing the program, including developing study guides, transitioning from paper-and-pencil testing to computer-based testing, introducing and institutionalizing validation of our tests, and he even started our first website and jobs board service back in the day. 

“Can’t say we don’t grow ‘em smart and in demand. He will be missed.”


Phil Scott, District Manager at West Bay Sanitary District, CWEA Immediate Past President

Phil Scott, District Manager at West Bay Sanitary District, CWEA Immediate Past President

Phil Scott, CWEA Past President shares thoughts and memories of Chris.

I remember when such a young looking Chris Lundeen joined the CWEA staff and was a little shy and reserved but also excited about working on the Certification Exams and getting them NOCA compliant.  I had just put the Collection System exam questions in an Excel spreadsheet “Question Item Bank” and Chris was all set to work to get them all in multiple choice format and get the Item Bank ready to use in a Computer Based Testing system.  He finally convinced the Board to pull the trigger on Computer Based Testing a few years later and made it happen and it’s all running super smoothly.

One memory of Chris I’ll never forget is eating dinner at the Nugget in Sparks, Nevada.  Chris ordered a big bowl of Garlic Soup.  It was a huge bowl and very strong.  Chris was undeterred and ate the whole bowl though I think he regretted it a little bit later.  I was amazed he got the whole thing down. 

Good luck Chris with your new career endeavor and the best of everything in life to you.

We would love to hear your stories of working with Chris. Use the comment section to share. 

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


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.


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

Thursday, March 30, 2017

5:30 PM

Please RSVP by March 23, 2017 to: Ashley Alvarez, Administrative Clerk (707) 678-7030

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


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)