FEBRUARY 2022
A Message From Our Board President: OCWD Continues to Lead the Way in Addressing PFAS
Picture of OCWD Board President Stephen R. Sheldon
Our work to address PFAS in Orange County continues to be a top priority as we implement a multi-faceted effort to remove PFAS detected in the Orange County Groundwater Basin. OCWD is addressing this costly effort swiftly and proactively by launching the nation’s largest pilot testing program to test treatment techniques, building treatment facilities, and restoring the impacted drinking water supply.
 
Over the next two years, 35 PFAS treatment facilities are being designed and constructed in Orange County and four facilities are already online and operating. Earlier this month, Serrano Water District began operating its PFAS treatment plant in Villa Park, which can treat up to 4.6 million gallons of water per day. During treatment, contaminants such as PFAS are removed from the water before it goes into the distribution system. I want to commend our OCWD staff and the Serrano Water District for a job well done in bringing this facility online.
 
The total PFAS price tag in Orange County is estimated at more than $1 billion over 30 years, which includes capital and operating costs and additional temporary costs for purchasing replacement water. This cost will likely increase and has a tremendous impact not only on water agencies, but on ratepayers. Therefore, our response to PFAS must also include legislative solutions that ensure innocent water agencies, and ultimately ratepayers, do not face this financial burden. We must ensure the ‘polluter pays’ principle is upheld. 
 
We invite you to engage with us more on this topic during a special webinar on March 24 at 12pm. I look forward to moderating the discussion with our panelists who will provide information on PFAS costs, impacts, policy and much more. Our speakers include Denis Bilodeau, Director, Orange County Water District (representing the City of Orange); Stephan Tucker, General Manager, Water Replenishment District of Southern California; Adam Link, Executive Director, California Association of Sanitation Agencies; and Eric Sapirstein, ENS Resources, Inc.
Children's Water Education Festival Celebrates 25 Years!
Held virtually April 25-29, 2022, the Children's Water Education Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary! The award-winning event aims to educate 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. You, too, can play a part in educating today’s youth!

Interested in Presenting?
Presenters are needed to bring this engaging content to life by creating a prerecorded video lesson that will be made available on-demand to registered teachers and their students. Additional information, including presenter guidelines and an application, are available on the Children's Water Education Festival website.

Sponsorship Opportunities Available!
Multiple sponsorship levels are available to meet organizations’ strategic goals for environmental/green initiative, corporate philanthropy, community involvement, corporate responsibility, and increased positive brand recognition and exposure. Please call (714) 378-3257 or email waterfestival@ocwd.com for additional sponsorship information.
Research and Development Fuels Innovation
OCWD is proud to be the recipient of a $102,700 award as research funding from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) as part of its Desalination and Water Purification Research Program and was the only public agency of the nine awardees for this year. The funding will support the District’s continued research in monitoring reverse osmosis (RO) performance in potable water reuse. 

As part of USBR’s competitive “Pitch to Pilot” program, our scientists pitched an innovative and industry disruptive technology by Cooper Environmental to measure water quality for various parameters simultaneously via an online analyzer in RO feed water and permeate, including strontium and a number of other elements. The project is titled “Assessment of a Multi-Metals Continuous Water Analyzer Based on ED-XRF to Monitor Reverse Osmosis Performance in Potable Water Reuse.” The Desalination and Water Purification Research program seeks to invest in developing advanced water treatment technologies to expand access to otherwise unusable water resources.
We're Published! Reflecting our commitment of innovation and leadership, we are proud to share our research and expertise locally, nationally, and globally. Staff from OCWD’s Research and Development department were recently featured in the following publications.
Employee Spotlight
Congratulations Are In Order!
Congratulations to OCWD Employee of the Year, Ritchie Valdez! Richie is the District's Maintenance Technician II and his knowledge of the Microfiltration area of the GWRS and positive attitude has made it easy for him to work with others and pass on what he has learned over the years to other employees. Read more about his recognition.
OCWD Honors Employees Celebrating 2021 Service Milestones
The District’s employees are its most valuable resources. During our 2021 Service Awards celebration, we were privileged to recognize our employees celebrating 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, and 45 years of service! Check out this short video featuring our amazing staff.
In Case You Missed It
We're proud to sponsor and co-host the upcoming 11th International Symposium on Managed Aquifer Recharge (ISMAR). ISMAR is the world’s preeminent symposium on managed aquifer recharge and will include multiple workshops, keynote speakers, technical sessions, an awards luncheon, post-conference field trips, and many networking opportunities. Learn more by visiting the event website.
OCWD operates the largest potable reuse facility in the world, the Groundwater Replenishment System, which takes highly treated wastewater, purifies it into drinking water standards and recharges it into the Orange County Groundwater Basin. Our February webinar highlighted a recently completed study demonstrating virus log removal during conventional wastewater treatment. A recording is now available.
Our Commitment to Environmental Protection & Education
In 2019, OCWD was awarded $100,0000 for the development of a Watershed Education Fieldtrip program under California Department of Water Resources’ Proposition 1. This educational fieldtrip program was envisioned as an opportunity for third grade students attending schools in disadvantage communities in Orange County to learn about the interconnectedness and importance of protecting a watershed by touring the District’s Prado Wetlands.

While the District did have to pivot to a virtual program during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there was overwhelming demand from teachers looking for virtual fieldtrip options for their classrooms. Virtual tours are held by Inside the Outdoors staff live from Prado. Since its inception, the program has educated more than 4,700 students throughout Orange County.
OCWD is continuing to offer a virtual watershed education fieldtrip program and looks forward to welcoming students soon for an in-person fieldtrip so they may participate in hands-on activities to see, touch, and explore the beauty of OCWD’s Prado Wetlands, which is home to a wide variety of plant and wildlife species. In the meantime, check out this on-demand video - fun for our youth and adults alike!
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 January 2022.
Thirsty for More Information?
Explore how OCWD maintains one of the world’s most advanced aquifer recharge systems to manage our vast groundwater.
Learn how the Philip L. Anthony Water Quality Laboratory performs more than 400,000 analyses of approximately 20,000 water samples each year.
Check out the many water-saving resources offered by Save Our Water, a statewide, water conservation program created by ACWA and DWR.



Webinar: PFAS Legislative Solutions - Thursday, March 24 at 12 p.m.
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.