Third Annual CA Water Week Elevates Water Professionals, Highlights Water Jobs

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Water professionals from all over California were once again recognized for the significant impact they are making in our water environment.

CWEA joined hundreds of agencies throughout California to celebrate the third annual Water Professionals Appreciation Week between Oct. 5-13. In an effort to encourage more women and veterans to join our profession, we again highlighted women and veterans in the sector. By sending out an open call to agencies to submit their veterans in water stories, we collected close to 30 stories. You can view those here: http://cweawaternews.org/topics/veterans-in-water/.

Using the template included in CWEA’s toolkit, water agencies and individuals from all corners of the state shared their appreciation across social media channels using hashtags #WeAreCAWater #CAWaterWeek #WorkForWater #ThankAnOperator #WomenInWater and #VeteransInWater to highlight the important role of water industry professionals and local public water agencies in ensuring safe and reliable water, wastewater, and recycled water in California.

These included engineers, systems operators, planners, construction and maintenance crews, information technology specialists, accountants, administrative professionals, public affairs teams, customer service representatives and managers, and many more.

This year CWEA participated in a social media takeover. We asked Nick Hansen, Senior Plant Operator of Central Contra Costa Sanitary District, Travis Fisher, Senior Inspector at Ojai Valley Sanitary District, Amanda Bird, Wastewater Treatment Operator from City of Santa Cruz Wastewater Treatment Facility and Wastewater Systems Operator, Devin Valdiva of Los Osos Water Recycling Facility to take over our Instagram and Twitter accounts for the week. They shared their day to day activities, showed us what it’s like heading into the graveyard shift, why some plants have goats and so much more. It was entertaining, educational and so much fun to follow along.

It’s been fun sharing the Operator life here at Santa Cruz Wastewater Treatment Facility! – Amanda Bird, City of Santa Cruz Wastewater Treatment Facility

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Sped up to about 30 minutes in 30ish seconds. This is called the Settleometer test. We can gauge the performance of our plant by observing a few key elements. The speed at which the sludge settles, the total amount that settled over 30 minutes of undisturbed settling, and how much, if any at all, rise may occur after an hour. Depending on those factors we can determine the quality of our sludge. We are a 0.5 MGD conventional activated sludge system at the Los Osos Water Recycling Facility. Our MLSS (mixed liquor suspended solids) hovers around 3500ish mg/l and our SRT (solids retention time, measured in days) is around 20 days. Based on what kind of compaction, or total settled sludge, we can assess the performance of our current wasting rate. Should rising sludge occur around the 60 minute mark that may indicate that the DO (dissolved oxygen) is too low. This is basically a scaled down clarifier. In fact, these samples are generally taken from the aeration basin/oxidation ditch just before entering a secondary clarifier. #tldr This pretty analog test of watching you know what sink to the bottom can show us the performance of the biological consumption part of treating wastewater. – Devin Valdivia, County of San Luis Obispo Wastewater Systems Worker I #operatorlife #wastewatertreatment #lovemyjob #wwtp #lowrf #watertreatment #sludge #settleometer #waterjobs #kindagrossbutkindacool

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In addition to the templates that were available for download, CWEA created three different infographics highlighting mission critical jobs in this sector, women leaders from the past and future of water, and workforce stats that share why we’re proud to be #2.

Being the third annual appreciation week, we are excited to see this week gain momentum each year and look forward to every October.

Water Professionals Appreciation Week was established in 2017 by Senate Concurrent Resolution 80, by Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa) and sponsored by an ACWA-led coalition that included WateReuse California, California Municipal Utilities Association, California Association of Sanitation Agencies and CWEA.

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