MARCH 2022
A Message From Our Board President:
Educating our Communities on PFAS 
Picture of OCWD Board President Stephen R. Sheldon
As part of the District’s robust efforts to share PFAS information with our communities, I was pleased to moderate a panel discussion this month on PFAS impacts and policy solutions.
 
Pending legislation and regulations could cause financial issues for water and wastewater agencies, and their ratepayers, who are simply trying to clean up a problem caused by chemical manufacturers. We strongly believe that any PFAS-related legislation or rulemaking should recognize the unique position of water and wastewater agencies who are not responsible for PFAS that can be found in the water and wastewater they manage and treat. Bottom line – we need to ensure the “polluter pays” principle is upheld and that water agencies, and ultimately ratepayers, are not burdened by the financial cost of cleaning up PFAS.
 
I want to thank our panelists, OCWD Director Denis Bilodeau; Stephan Tucker, General Manager of the Water Replenishment District; Adam Link, Executive Director of CASA; and Eric Sapirstein of ENS Resources, who provided great perspectives on PFAS priorities and solutions they are advocating for at their agencies and organizations.
 
I also want to thank our OCWD staff for their swift and proactive efforts to address PFAS, including launching the nation’s largest pilot program to test treatment techniques, building treatment facilities, and bringing impacted wells back online as quickly as possible.
 
Recently, we launched a new PFAS education center, designed to keep you apprised of the latest issues impacting our communities. Learn about the legislation and regulations surrounding PFAS and what we’re doing to advocate for our water and wastewater agencies and our ratepayers. You can also make your voice heard and take action by downloading template letters and resolutions and visit the many regulatory and scientific resources OCWD and others have to offer. 
 
And lastly, in case you missed it, our quarterly PFAS update to stakeholders was also distributed this month. Be sure to sign up to receive these updates if you’re not already getting them. 
Children's Water Education Festival is Around the Corner
Held virtually April 25-29, the Children's Water Education Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary this year! The award-winning event educates students about water-related and environmental issues that support Next Generation Science Standards.

Through interactive and engaging sessions, the Festival teaches youth that they can make a difference in protecting our resources today, tomorrow and for future generations. This year, students will be treated to presentations by the Orange County Water District, Disneyland Resort, Boeing, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, OC San, OC Stormwater, LA Zoo, and dozens more!
 
The Festival is presented at no cost to schools, making community support vital to its success and growth. Thank you to the wonderful sponsors and presenters who make this event possible. 
March Celebrations
March welcomed a lot of exciting opportunities to celebrate people and projects that are near and dear to our hearts. Take a look at the snapshot below and be sure to follow OCWD on social media for the latest water news and announcements!

Women's History Month
Groundwater Awareness Week
World Wildlife Day
International Women's Day
World Water Day
World Engineering Day
In Case You Missed It
Executive Director of Water Quality and Technical Resources Jason Dadakis shares his thoughts with AWWA for the article, "California utilities battle PFAS with new ion treatment plant."
The Philip L. Anthony Water Quality Laboratory is the first public agency laboratory in California to achieve state certification to analyze for PFAS in drinking water by EPA Method 533. 
Senior Scientist Meeta Pannu contributed to two articles in Groundwater Resources Association's Hydrovisions. Check them out here!
Thank you Water Research Foundation for highlighting R&D's enteric virus log removal in wastewater treatment for potable reuse study!
Congratulations Are In Order!
Congratulations to Supervising Chemist Lily Vuong Sanchez who was honored by Lab Manager with an Excellence in Lab Management Award! This award recognizes individuals who demonstrate exceptional leadership and management skills within their scientific organizations. Lab Manager's awards program recognizes and celebrates those who help ensure the success of their team and their organization’s mission. 
OC San General Manager Jim Herberg was awarded the Excellence in Advocacy Achievement Award from the WateReuse Association where he was recognized for his contributions to the water/wastewater industry, environment, and his advocacy efforts in water reuse. His leadership, vision, and guidance have fostered a long-standing relationship with OCWD, enabling our two agencies to become leaders in the world of water reuse. Congratulations, Jim!
OCWD’s Bird Box Program Helps Control Midge Flies Along the Santa Ana River
For more than 10 years, OCWD has implemented an environmentally-friendly way to control midge flies along the Santa Ana River through implementation of a natural biological control using Tree Swallows. Midge flies are small, non-biting flies that resemble mosquitos and live near ponds, lakes, and rivers. Unlike mosquitoes, midges are incapable of biting and do not transmit bloodborne pathogens. They are not vectors of disease and do not pose any health risks. But they can be a nuisance because they populate areas near vegetation and running water, such as the Santa Ana River where OCWD operates, so we developed the nest box program to help control them.  

Residents walking along the Santa Ana River can see the placement of hundreds of bird nest boxes mounted atop fences, in trees and on metal poles. The boxes have been wildly successful in encouraging nesting and it is estimated that they have resulted in fledgling more than 8,500 Tree Swallows. These birds are both beautiful and voracious eaters of midge flies. Studies have shown that Tree Swallow parents feed their nestlings 8,000 insects per day. OCWD manages more than 420 nest boxes along the river, so the daily reduction in insects is in the millions. While these birds can’t completely control the problem, it has been estimated that they are at least as effective as the historic use of pesticides.

For additional information about the District’s efforts and ways that you can protect your property, please see the Midge Fly Fact Sheet. You may also contact OCWD at (714) 378-8244 or info@ocwd.com
Sustainably Managing the OC Groundwater Basin
OCWD is one of the few groundwater management agencies able to track the groundwater basin’s “water budget” on a monthly basis. This information allows the District to make more informed management decisions about future water supplies and pumping. View the infographic below to see the groundwater basin’s storage, recharge, and pumping levels, through the end of February 2022.
Thirsty for More Information?
Explore the PFAS Education Center to stay apprised of the latest PFAS issues impacting our communities.
Learn how the GWRS Final Expansion project will increase treatment capacity to 130 million gallons per day.
See how OCWD is mitigating drought by increasing water supplies and securing long-term water reliability.
The Orange County Water District is committed to enhancing Orange County’s groundwater quality and reliability in an environmentally friendly and economical manner. The following cities rely on the groundwater basin, managed by OCWD, to provide 77% of their water demands: Anaheim, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Cypress, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Newport Beach, Orange, Placentia, Santa Ana, Seal Beach, Stanton, Tustin, Villa Park, Westminster, and Yorba Linda.
President Stephen R. Sheldon
First Vice President Cathy Green
Second Vice President Tri Ta
Denis R. Bilodeau, P.E.
Nelida Mendoza
Dina L. Nguyen, Esq.
Kelly E. Rowe, CFM, P.G., C.E.G., C.H.
Harry Sidhu, P.E.
Bruce Whitaker
Roger C. Yoh, P.E.