Tri-Counties Awards Announced

The 2014 Tri Counties Annual Awards Banquet was held January 16th at the Wedgewood Wedding & Banquet Center in Ventura.  The evening began with a delicious dinner followed by the installation of the 2015/16 Tri Counties Section Board of Directors.  Simon Watson, CWEA President, did the honors of installing the Tri Counties Section incoming board, while also giving them some sage advice for their upcoming term.  The new Tri Counties Board of Directors are: Teresa Kistner (Goleta Sanitary District) – President; Juan Ramirez (Goleta Sanitary District) – Vice President; John Pujol (Advanced World) – Secretary; Nick Steffen (City of Simi Valley) – Treasurer; Ben Marquart (City of San Luis Obispo) – Member at Large; Brett Offerman (Kemira) – Two Year Director; and Thomas Welche (City of Santa Barbara) – Past President.
The first award of the evening was in the Gimmicks & Gadgets category and went to Juan Ramirez of Goleta Sanitary District for his ingenious “J-Hook”, a device that can certainly make the job of those on the collections crew a lot easier. Justin Graves, also from Goleta Sanitary presented the award to Juan.
Mark Bennett from Carpinteria Sanitary District presented the Operator of the Year award to Casey Balche, also from Carpinteria Sanitary.  Some of Casey’s notable accomplishments are an iPad application for both operations and collection systems’ inspection forms, he assisted with the implementation of Bio Win process modeling software, obtained his Grade 2 Operator certification, and as a certified diver he has performed underwater inspections at the plant’s ocean outfall.
The Collection System of the Year for small systems (0 – 249 miles) was presented to Carpinteria Sanitary District by Ben Marquart from the City of San Luis Obispo. Outstanding accomplishments for Carpinteria’s Collection System in 2014 included the Rincon Point septic to sewer conversion project, the low pressure sewer system management project, a pipeline rehabilitation project, and the Bluffs sewer relocation project.
The 2014 Small (< 5 MGD) Plant of the Year was awarded to the Santa Paula Water Recycling Plant, with Thomas Welche presenting the award.  The Santa Paula plant is an excellent example of a private/public partnership between the City of Santa Paula and PERC Water.  The original Santa Paula Wastewater Treatment Plant was built in 1939. To meet current water quality standards, the plant needed to be replaced. The new facility came on line in 2010, six months ahead of schedule.  The plant has underground covered tanks where the majority of plant processes take place.  This efficient design allows for a treatment capacity of 25% more than the original facility while occupying 70% less space.
The final award of the evening went to the El Estero Wastewater Treatment Plant as the 2014 Medium (5 MGD – <20 MGD) Plant of the Year.  The award was presented by incoming Tri Counties Section President Teresa Kistner.  Over the last several years the plant has undergone many changes, both to the facility itself and in the culture at the plant.  Many capital improvement projects have increased plant efficiency.
All the Tri Counties Section winners’ applications have been forwarded to the State CWEA Awards committee for award consideration.  Congratulations to all winners!  Keep up the great work!

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