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]

Walk-ins are welcome!

California’s wastewater professionals come together in Northern California for this once a year educational event.

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) > (bring the completed form with you to the Registration Desk)

Don’t miss the Drought Summit on Wednesday September 9th. Speakers include:

  • 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, California Association of Sanitation Agencies
  • Drought-driven Wastewater Treatment and Reuse: What will be the Operational Challenges and Opportunities? - Craig Criddle, PhD, P.E., Professor Stanford University
  • FILL ‘ER UP! Drought Relief through Recycled Water Fill Stations – Stefanie Olson, Dublin San Ramon Utilities District & Cheryl Munoz, San Francisco Public Utilities Agency
  • GoogleWater: Treating Wastewater for Industrial Reuse – Eric Rosenblum, WateReuse Industrial Reuse Committee
  • Evolution of Water Recycling Regulations and Applications - Bahman Sheikh, Water Reuse Consultant
  • City of Modesto Phase 2 Biological Nutrient Removal/ Tertiary Treatment Plant - Ryan Sellman, Carollo Enineers, Will Wong, City of Modesto

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
  • 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
  • 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 >

Get ready to learn the latest safety technologies and safety practices at CWEA’s Northern Safety Day on Wednesday, October 21, 2015.  You don’t want to miss Northern Safety Day it’s the best way to grow your knowledge about staying safe on the job.  The more you know, the safer you will be!

Register Online or Download your form
$115 Member Rate, Save until October 5

  • You’ll get the latest safety training such as how to detect drug lab discharge, chemical safety, chemical handling & disposal and much more
  • Experience hands-on equipment demonstrations and network with exhibitors specializing in safety
  • Learn from and exchange information with attendees

Earn 1.2 contact hours for each session, up to a maximum of 5.8 CWEA contact hours towards all CWEA TCP Certificates.

Secure your spot today for our upcoming Certification Preparation Sessions to prepare for your next CWEA certification exam. Our knowledgeable moderators will share information on how to use the many resources and tools to get you on the path to your certification. Space is limited, register online now!

Friday, September 25, 2015
Fairfield Suisun Sewer District
1010 Chadbourne Road
Fairfield, CA  94534
Earn up to 8 CWEA Contact Hours

Thursday, October 8, 2015
Alvarado Employee Training & Development Center
5510 Kiowa Drive
La Mesa, CA  91942
Earn up to 7.2 CWEA Contact Hours

Friday, October 23, 2015
Barstow Community College (free parking)
2700 Barstow Road
Barstow, CA  92311
Earn up to 7.2 CWEA Contact Hours

Join your colleagues at these interactive sessions to review the CWEA Path to Certification and delve into the knowledge, skills and abilities (KSA’s) that make up the core of your vocation.  You’ll use the newly developed KSA Gap Analysis Tool to identify areas to focus on during your studying.  Numerous and diverse sample questions will be reviewed as your moderator guides you through the highlights of your vocation.  Learn how to develop your own action plan tool for you to use throughout the day to track your action items and plan your next steps. You will leave this workshop with a better idea of what areas you need to focus on as you prepare for your exam.

The City of Santa Rosa, California, is collaborating with Trane, a leading global provider of indoor comfort solutions, and services and a brand of Ingersoll Rand, to execute an innovative project that will increase energy independence at the city’s Laguna Wastewater Treatment Plant which is managed by the city’s water department, Santa Rosa Water.

Trane chose Santa Rosa’s Laguna Wastewater Treatment Plant for the project to implement a $5 million grant from the California Energy Commission, the state’s primary energy and planning agency. The project team, which represents companies contributing $2 million in technology development funding, includes, among other companies, Alstom Grid, the world’s leading power-transmission company.

“Being selected for this grant is a great example of our commitment to our community’s future,” said David Guhin, director of Santa Rosa Water. “Santa Rosa strives to find innovative and cost-effective solutions that improve energy efficiency, optimize energy production, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, making this project a huge win.”

The Laguna Treatment Plant is responsible for treating wastewater from the California communities of Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, Cotati, Rohnert Park, and other areas of Sonoma County. The project will transform the plant into an advanced microgrid and also will decrease dependence upon the traditional energy grid by incorporating additional renewable energy.

Anticipated benefits of transforming the plant into an advanced microgrid include stabilizing energy costs, providing additional revenue sources, and delivering the grid services needed to allow increased use of renewable energy, including solar and wind. The microgrid is anticipated to be operational in late 2016.

“We’re leveraging existing technology to support better regional energy management by making our operations more efficient and putting available energy back onto the grid for other consumers to use,” said Michael Day, utility solutions vertical market leader for Trane in California, and the principal proposal author. “The project also will support the use of more solar and wind renewables.”

An Efficient Operation Means Available Energy for Other Users
The microgrid will pull power from the main grid when excess energy is available, allowing Santa Rosa to easily switch back and forth to help balance power on the main grid.

To treat wastewater from approximately 230,000 customers, the treatment plant recycles approximately 17.5 million gallons of water per day, which requires approximately four megawatts of energy. Roughly 30 percent of this energy is generated on-site by beneficially using digester gas to run engine-driven generators. The other 70 percent of energy demanded for treatment currently comes from the main electrical grid and costs up to $3.5 million a year.

[Read more]

[Story posted in International Business Times]

A new legislation has been passed by the California State Senate to ban the sale of personal care products containing plastic microbeads on Friday, Sept 4. The amended bill would prohibit the use of microbeads due to officials found it harmful on the marine life and human health by polluting rivers and oceans.

According to a press release, the bill was approved even a day after the Senate has failed to meet the votes needed. The lawmakers driving the bill were supported by over 75 water agencies, environmental and health advocacy organisations, and green businesses throughout California.

Proposed to be effective by 2020, the legislation aims to aid eliminate billions of plastic microbeads dumped into California’s freshwater and marine environments every day. The officials said that microbeads can cause negative impacts on the human health when fish and other organisms ingest it as a food.

The toxins may prompt contamination on the marine environment. Plastic microbeads were designed to pass through the drain that were added to facial scrubs, toothpastes and other personal care products as colorants.

Local waterways and the ocean may be affected as the microbeads are so small that can rarely be captured by wastewater filters, according to the Clean Water Action and the California Association of Sanitation Agencies, or CASA. The plastic microbeads can attract other chemicals such as PCBs and flame retardants on the surface of the water after it escapes the wastewater treatment.

There are about 350,000 microbeads in a single product, which Richard Bloom, Assembly member and author of the bill, said that continuing to use the harmful and unnecessary microbeads, even if natural alternatives are widely available, “is simply irresponsible.” The use of the microbeads-containing products would result in significant clean-ups costs to taxpayers to restore the already limited water resources and ocean health, he added.

“Toxic microbeads are accumulating in our rivers, lakes and oceans at alarmingly high levels. We can and must act now,” Bloom said. The officials suggest for more use of natural alternatives such as apricot shells and cocoa beans, which have been successfully used instead of plastic microbeads in personal care products.

The bill, if signed by the California Governor Jerry Brown, would prevent 38 tonnes of plastic pollution out of the state’s water environment each year.

“I am confident that, if the governor signs this bill, future generations will look back and wonder why these tiny pieces of plastic were ever even considered for use in products that are designed to be washed down the drain,” said Mark Murray, executive director of Californians Against Waste and sponsor of the bill.

At this year’s Annual Conference in San Diego a room packed with wastewater professionals listened intently as a panel of experts provided updates on wipes, rags, pills and other debris getting flushed down the toilet. What’s being done to bring this nightmare to an end?

The panel of experts agreed we saw some major breakthroughs in 2015. We called the experts together for the CWEA-CASA “What 2 Flush” Summit meeting. They all pointed to glimmers of hope for real solutions that can help us dig out from under this mountain of trash people are flushing.

The biggest breakthroughs include a decision by the US Supreme Court on May 26, 2015 not to take up an appeal of Alameda County’s Safe Drug Disposal Ordinance, rendering it legal for counties all over the country to require pharmaceutical manufacturers to set up and pay for the collection of unwanted medications.

On the flushable wipes front, manufacturers in the Fall of 2014 signed an agreement to work closer with wastewater associations on new flushability guidelines and a “product stewardship initiative.”

Beginning of the End for the Wipes Problem?

Nick Arhontes, Orange County Sanitation District

For Nick Arhontes, Director of Facilities Support Services at the Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD), resolving the non-dispersible wipes challenge has always been a team effort. Arhontes has studied the issue for five years and has brought together sewer experts from coast-to-coast as well as bringing other associations into the discussion.

In 2013 his agency, OCSD, unveiled to the public the “3Ps” message about what to flush – pee, poo and toilet paper. And that’s it! The agency went on to develop a popular public website and campaign called What 2 Flush. The logo and campaign materials are available at www.what2flush.com for other agencies to use in their regions. The 3Ps message has caught on and can now be heard from sewer agencies throughout North America and even in the UK and Australia.

During his presentation, Arhontes focused on three key initiatives to resolve the wipes issue once and for all – reengineering wipes so they breakdown; using more natural fibers so they don’t cause environmental harm; and getting more sewer professionals involved in this issue. “We need you,” said Arhontes. He wants to see more data collected about pump clogs and spills to document the problems wastewater agencies are experiencing with nondispersibles. Arhontes also advocates more public outreach, particularly during the drought when people can save water by placing trash into a container instead of flushing it and wasting water.

Melody LaBella, the Pollution Prevention Program Coordinator at the Central Contra Costa Sanitary District, pointed to the introduction of a product (wipes) labeled and marketed as flushable  has confused the public and opened enormous flood gates of trash entering our sewer systems.

“You have to keep in mind the confusion customers are facing,” said LaBella.

“They purchase one product labeled flushable and another product that looks exactly the same with a do not flush label and they end up flushing both of them. Consumers can’t tell the different.”

[Read more]