Elizabeth Allan, Executive Director

Elizabeth Allan, Executive Director

The Executive Director’s Message covers the meetings of CWEA’s State Board of Directors on your behalf after each quarterly Board meeting. This issue highlights the June 26-27 Board workshop and meeting. With our fiscal year starting on July 1st this issue is dedicated to our FY15-16 program of work and budget just approved by the Board.

Our accomplishments from 14-15 included:

* 9,500 members strong as of May 2015
* 21st Century Education & AC Growth Strategy – momentum generated with AC15 improvements – check out the 5 Great Video Moments from the Opening General Session and Awards Luncheon.
* Cert Strategic Planning – plan for 15-16
* Cert Prep – 13 sessions held by Local Sections drawing 500+ professionals
* Agency outreach – increased connection with agencies primarily through CASA, WEF, Baywork

Be sure to view our “storyboards” that give context for our FY15-16 budget, our membership and certification fee increases, and our investment in special initiatives from our Project Fund. Also download our most current dashboard showing the metrics the Board tracks to monitor progress on our strategic plan. We review this dashboard at every Board meeting.

FY 15-16 Program of Work: It’s Back to the Future for CWEA! Major Certification Strategic Plan Underway; 21st Century Education Coming to More Events
On Saturday June 27th the CWEA Board approved another year of programs and the budget for FY 15-16 during the quarterly Board meeting in Oakland. We continue to reinvest in member services and programs as the economy improves. See the infographic, which details the budget for FY 15-16. [Read more]

Register now and fine-tune your knowledge, skills and abilities, engage with your fellow water and wastewater colleagues, find solutions to issues during the educational sessions and meet with exhibitors in the exhibition hall including an outdoor show of equipment.

Download the conference Brochure / registration form (PDF) >

Start learning before the conference begins by attending one of two pre-conference workshops on leadership or collection systems. The first NRTC Pre-Conference Workshop will give a good look at the Big 6 of Collection System Maintenance for the introductory collection worker. The second workshop led by Shelly Alcorn, a professional management consultant, will help you build leadership skills by introducing you to concepts from the book Thinking Fast and Slow.

In his book, Thinking Fast and Slow Nobel Prize winning author Daniel Kahneman takes us on a psychological tour of the human mind. Leadership skills may feel like they come from the heart, but they all reside in the head. Come with us as we replicate some of the cool mental puzzles mentioned in the book, highlight some common pitfalls we all fall into as we form and use mental models and learn how to apply a “two-system” approach to the way we think about the future.

Also at NRTC – you can find solutions for issues you and your organization experience during the Drought Summit/Engineering and Recycled Water Session.

NRTC 2015Attend three days of sessions and earn up to 15.6 CWEA contact hours. Sample sessions include:

  • California Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program - Christine Sotelo
  • Potable Reuse: California Stays on the Forefront of Recycled Water - Jennifer West, WateRuse California
  • The Utility of the Future is Here Today: Wastewater Agencies Tackle the Drought, Climate Change, and Energy Independence – Bobbi Larson, CASA
  • Office of Operator Certification – Blending the Water  - Annette Caraway, State Water Resources Control Board
  • An Introduction to Aquatic Toxicity Testing: From Permit to Test Method Requirements – Stephen L. Clark, Pacific EcoRisk
  • A New View of Effective Listening – Rich Abreu, Sacramento Area Sewer District
  • How to interview for a job in P3S – Tracy Wyhlidko, City of Redding
  • Drought-driven Wastewater Treatment and Reuse: What will be the Operational Challenges and Opportunities? – Craig Criddle, PhD, P.E., Professor Stanford University
  • How to Prepare for an Environmental Compliance Inspector Certification Exam  - Meg Herston, Fairfield-Suisun Sewer District
  • Electrical & Instrumentation Certification Test Review Grades 1-4 – Ralph Stevens, Carmel Area Wastewater District
  • Emergency Bypass Systems – Garett Rehs, Rain for Rent

Free Lunch will be provided inside the exhibition hall where you can learn hands-on about the latest products, services, and materials in our field. And don’t miss the Solutions and Technology Round-Up which will all take place among our exhibitors.

Early bird registration ends August 24. Register today to save $30.

Or download the conference Brochure and PDF registration forms >

We interviewed several companies working in California who provide solutions for flushable wipe issues.

This Q&A is with John Gross, Owner of Goldstreet Designs. His team of communications professionals have produced numerous community outreach materials for California agencies to educate their customers about the wipes problem.

City of Redmond, WA banner designed by Goldstreet Designs.

1. When did your company first get involved in solving wipes problems?

In May 2009, the City of Redmond, Washington asked for a solution to spread the facts about wipes.

The outreach was planned for a mobile billboard on the side of their vac truck with the thought that while the trucks were working and driving around the City, residents would learn that wipes aren’t flushable and need to be put in the garbage.

In fact, after the truck was labelled , a mother and son came up to the crew at a job site.

The boy had pointed out the sign and said ‘mom, you flush wipes’

The mother asked if it was okay to flush just 1 because that’s what she did.  The crew had an opportunity to explain the impact.

2.  Why is your solution the best at resolving the problem?

All we do is utility outreach.  We pride ourselves on having top marketing and design teams on staff, while having no utility experience. Why does that make us the best?  Because we are your customer, we don’t get bogged down in engineering speak.

We pull out key points, write from a customer’s perspective while providing innovative and eye catching creative that leads to behavioral change.

We’ve served over 230 utilities and municipalities across the country.

[Read more]

We interviewed several California based companies who provide solutions for flushable wipe issues.

This Q&A is with Graham Hackett, Branch Manager for the Los Angeles and Fairfield offices of global pump and systems manufacturer Xylem Inc. Graham talked about their new N-Hydraulic pump design for dealing with wipes.

1. When did your company first get involved in solving wipes problems?

Xylem-Flygt initially became involved in solving customer issues with non-dispersibles in municipal lift stations, collection systems and wastewater treatment facilities in the early to mid 2000′s.

2.  Why is your solution the best at resolving the problem?

Xylem has been delivering Flygt brand electric submersible pumps in wet-pit and dry-pit wastewater applications, outfitted with patented N-Hydraulic Innovative Technology.

Flygt N-pumps have proven to provide guaranteed non-clog performance and deliver more than 25% energy savings when compared to conventional solids-handling pump designs.

Xylem's adaptive N-impeller allows passage of larger rag balls

[Watch the N-pump in action in this debris pumping demonstration]

[Read more]

Here are several wipes education materials we’ve pulled together that your agency can use for free or for a very low cost.

Know of a great outreach campaign? Let us know by leaving a note and link in the comments section below. Let’s work together to solve this problem!

  1. What2Flush® branding - Orange County Sanitation District
    click here to download permission form
  2. “It’s a Toilet Not a Trash Can” bill stuffer – WEF
    Packs of 100 are $10
    click here to order (also available in Spanish)
  3. “Wipes Clog Pipes” postcard – Central Contra Costa Sanitary District
    FREE – Permission granted for other sewer agencies to use, must leave CCCSD credit line
    Download high-res postcard (pdf) / download guidance from CCCSD
  4. “Clogged Pipe Alert!” door hangers – Goldstreet Designs
    1,000 glossy stock door hangers for $235 (customization and other items are also available, request a quote)
    Contact John Gross at Goldstreet Designs to order

[Read more]

Hugo Gonzalez, a Leucadia Wastewater District technician, prepares a camera to search for roots in a Carlsbad, Calif., sewer line. Without normal levels of outdoor irrigation, tree roots in search of water have invaded sewer pipes and grown there over time. (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)

This morning’s L.A. Times post featured many CWEA members and the tremendous impact of low flows on agency systems and finances. Shout out to Dr. George Tchobanoglous; Christoph Dobson; Hugo Gonzalez; Mike Markus and Paul Bushee and their agencies for contributing to this story on the consequences of conservation in the CA Drought.

Under orders to slash water use amid a historic drought, cities and towns across the state saved about 75 billion gallons in July, eclipsing Gov. Jerry Brown’s once-daunting order for a 25% reduction.

But, in a paradox of conservation, water agencies say the unprecedented savings — 31% in July over July 2013 — are causing or compounding a slew of problems.

Sanitation districts are yanking tree roots out of manholes and stepping up maintenance on their pipes to prevent corrosion and the spread of odors. And when people use less potable water, officials say, there’s less wastewater available to recycle.

Water suppliers, meanwhile, say the dramatic decrease in consumption has created multimillion-dollar revenue shortfalls.

Experts and industry leaders say this represents a shift into a new stage of the four-year drought.

“It’s unintended consequences,” said George Tchobanoglous, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at UC Davis. “We never thought [conservation] was a bad thing. Every citizen thinks he or she is saving mankind, and I’m sympathetic, but it just so happens that our basic infrastructure was not designed with that in mind.”

Sanitation districts have worried about sewer spills for years, but officials say they have had to become especially vigilant in recent months as water use has plummeted.

Shorter showers, more efficient toilets and other reductions in indoor water usage have meant less wastewater flowing through sewer pipes, sanitation officials say. With less flow to flush the solids down the system, those solids are collecting and can eventually damage pipes.

“The costs that we’re going to face due to corroding pipes is going to be astronomical,” Tchobanoglous said. “It’ll dwarf everything else.”


We interviewed several California based companies who provide solutions for flushable wipe issues.

This Q&A is with Erwan Ouattara, ‎Executive Director at Aqualetic . We talked about their completely vertical Screentech bar screen.

1. When did your company first get involved in solving wipes problems?

In 2009, we got in touch with Mendocino Sanitary District which had trouble dealing with wipes. With no bar screen at their headworks, they were finding wipes all over the plant.

The wipes were especially damaging to the blowers. They were looking to install a bar screen, but had difficulties finding one because of the specific footprint – a deep and narrow vault.

2.  Why is your solution the best at resolving the problem?

The wipes in the sewer system are a major issue. It’s a recent problem and decades ago pump stations were not designed to handle this type of debris.

Therefore, the structure is often deep and narrow.

The vertical bar screen Screentec helps resolve the wipes  issue by collecting the debris. It retrofits any type of pump station without the need for costly structural changes.

It protects downstream equipment by removing the wipes.

Aqualetic's Screentec system

[Read more]