Use alkalinity profiling in wastewater operations to control biological activity and optimize process control

By Mary Evans and Gary Sober

The Water Environment Federation’s new Operations Challenge laboratory event will determine alkalinity needs to facilitate nitrification. Operators will evaluate alkalinity and ammonia by analyzing a series of samples similar to those observed in water resource recovery facilities.

This event will give operators an understanding of how alkalinity works in the wastewater treatment process to facilitate nitrification, as well as the analytical expertise to perform the tests onsite. This provides the real-time data needed to perform calculations, since these analyses typically are performed in a laboratory that can present a delay in the data.

What is alkalinity?

The alkalinity of water is a measure of its capacity to neutralize acids. It also refers to the buffering capacity, or the capacity to resist a change in pH. For wastewater operations, alkalinity is measured and reported in terms of equivalent calcium carbonate (CaCO3). Alkalinity is commonly measured to a certain pH. For wastewater, the measurement is total alkalinity, which is measured to a pH of 4.5 SU. Even though pH and alkalinity are related, there are distinct differences between these two parameters and how they can affect your facility operations.

[Read more]

WHAT: Groundwater Replenishment System Initial Expansion Dedication

In 2008, history was made when the Orange County Water District (OCWD) brought 70 million gallons a day (MGD) of new high-quality water to the region through its world renowned Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS). As seen on 60 Minutes, the GWRS has been hailed as a solution to drought and a global model for local water reliability.

Following nearly eight years of successful operation, OCWD made the world’s largest project even bigger. This month, a 30-MGD expansion of the GWRS was put into operation and officials will preside over a dedication event to celebrate this accomplishment during one of California’s most severe droughts on record.

With the completion of the expansion, OCWD is bringing 100 MGD of reliable water to Orange County. Total water production of the GWRS is now 103,000 acre-feet per year or enough water for 850,000 people. But, OCWD is not stopping here. It is exploring the feasibility of a final GWRS expansion and will continue to invest in projects that create long-term water reliability for the region.

The GWRS is a joint project of OCWD and the Orange County Sanitation District. It takes highly treated wastewater and purifies it through a three-step process of microfiltration, reverse osmosis and ultraviolet light with hydrogen peroxide, resulting in near-distilled quality water. This is the highest quality water in the region!

WHEN:  9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Friday, June 26, 2015

[Read more]

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 April 27th Board meeting & May 1st Annual Business Meeting.

The state of our Association is healthy
Our 14-15 President, Simon Watson, updated attendees at our May 1stAnnual Business Meeting on the State of the Association. Accomplishments included continuing to incorporate 21st century learning principles into our education events; Annual Conference growth; and beginning strategic planning for our certification program. The Association received a clean annual audit with one departure from Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), which we anticipated (for treatment of membership dues on a cash basis). All current indicators suggest that overall we are performing at or better than budget year-to-date. Our fiscal year ends June 30th; we’ll report preliminary fiscal year-end results in our Member Value Report (published in October). Our annual audited results are published in the April issue of Wastewater Professional.

AC 15 Continues Our Expansion of 21st Century Learning
Amazing work by the Annual Conference 2015 Committee and the standing committees who developed the program and events for our 87th Annual Conference held April 27 – May 1 in San Diego. A special thanks to AC 15 Co-Chairs Steve Agor, Business Development Director for Skanska and Julie Taylor, Director of Education for CWEA. We had a record-breaking “first-time attendee pass” registration at 89 attendees, up from 30 last year. Having these people experience the new conference is beneficial for CWEA and gets the word out to more newcomers. Goals for next year will include a first-time attendee reception and mentorship at the beginning of the conference. The opening sessions and awards lunch were videotaped for the first time this year for future marketing purposes. Watch these 5 Great Video Moments from Annual Conference.

Here are a few factoids from AC15:

  • AC 15 proceedings are ready and available here:
  • 1,269 attendees and speakers participated including 126 at 4 pre-conference workshops; 204 attendees went on 5 technical tours; 227 exhibit hall booths were sold; over $40,000 was raised in sponsorships
  • The conference started off with an energizing slam poet and opening session that featured a moderator who wove the crafting water theme through our five featured speakers, and a new room set up that supported more audience interaction. The session received positive feedback from attendees who were engaged and actively participating throughout the morning.
  • This was the second year CWEA had a conference app using Guidebook. Over 315 attendees downloaded the app, with over 200 downloading during the event. Many people were capturing the event on their Twitter and Facebook feeds using the hashtags #cweaac, #cweaac15 and #cwea
  • This year’s Operations Challenge was an intense competition among three teams. LA Wrecking Crew of The Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County placed 1st overall and will go on to the national competition at WEFTEC, while Vallejo placed 2nd, and Silicon Valley Clean Water placed 3rd.
  • More than 30 CWEA State award winners were recognized and a new Select Society of Sanitary Sludge Shovelers (5S) were installed. Watch the awards ceremony on the CWEA YouTube channel here.
  • More than 300+ volunteers, including speakers, make our Annual Conference possible.

Board members and Past Presidents available to present awards
Your CWEA Board members and Past Presidents are ready, willing, and able to present CWEA awards locally at agency council/board meetings. This extra promotion helps spread the word about our profession’s good work. Contact Victoria Thornton at or 510-382-7800 (x 113) if you would like a CWEA leader to make a CWEA award presentation. The complete list of winners of CWEA and WEF awards given at CWEA’s April 2015 Annual Conference, including new 5S inductees, is here:

Wondering if it’s worth your time to enter the awards program? Check out this awards program value flyer.

Scholarship Fund raises $28k during Annual Conference
Twelve of CWEA’s 17 Local Sections contributed $24,900 in donations and pledges to CWEA’s Kirt Brooks Memorial Water Environment Scholarship Fund during the Annual Conference. In lieu of a gift to board members and the Annual Conference committee, CWEA donated a total of $1,000 to the Fund. New Scholarship Chair Megan Yoo Schneider collected donations for the Scholarship Fund on-site and quickly raised $2,439. Donations and pledges during the conference totaled $28,339. Those contributions bring the Fund to approximately $472,000. The Board is looking forward to the Committee reaching its $500k goal. With 9,378 members, that would only take a $3.00 donation from each member to reach our goal. Scholarship donations are accepted throughout the year, not just at our Annual Conference.

CWEA’s Scholarship Fund provides annual scholarships ranging from $500 to $5,000 to students in the wastewater field. Four scholarships were awarded for the 2015-16 school year, totaling $17,600. Scholarship applications for the 2016-17 school year will be available online in September. The application deadline is January 15—plan now for next year. Scholarship applicants do not have to be members of CWEA; however, they do need a CWEA member to sponsor them.

Board approves Tri-State Seminar 2015 budget
The Board approved the Tri-State Seminar 2015 budget. CWEA is the fiscal sponsor for this well attended event sponsored by CWEA, AZ Water Association, and Nevada Water Environment Association. Well over half of the attendees are from California. This year’s event will be September 22-24, 2015 at the South Point Resort in Las Vegas.

A few good volunteers needed
CWEA always has volunteer opportunities available which help you develop leadership and management skills while you give back to your profession. Here are some areas where your contributions will have a major impact in the coming year:

Contact information for all CWEA Committee Chairs and committee descriptions can be found online at

WEFTEC in Chicago is just around the corner
WEF leaders are gearing up for WEFTEC in Chicago, September 26-30. There will be a focus on stormwater as well as creating the workforce of the future. Twenty-four papers were submitted for the Stockholm Junior Water Prize and Michele Eggelston, a 9th grade student from Mt. Everest Academy in San Diego was chosen by the Board’s Membership & External Relations (MER) Committee as this year’s California winner. Read Michele’s paper in the  August issue of the Wastewater Professional (mailed in August).

The Stanford GPC’s newest Executive Education program is tailored exclusively for public officials and employees. Co-sponsored by the West Coast Infrastructure Exchange (WCX)–the nation’s first non-profit infrastructure exchange dedicated to innovation in infrastructure delivery–the program is designed for public sector officials and employees with responsibility for drinking water supply and treatment, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure. It will train participants in the evaluation and implementation of Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) to ensure the greatest value-for-money for their jurisdictions’ and utilities’ ratepayers.

The two-day Executive Education program will be held on campus at Stanford University on October 28th and 29th, 2015 and will consist of modules taught by Stanford faculty and panels of practitioners from successfully structured water sector P3s.

Please Note: At this time this pilot course offering is available only for current public-sector leaders, managers, and administrators. We hope to develop additional education offerings in the future that private-sector operators and investors may participate in. To learn more visit

The following is an update on the research being conducted by Dr. Chuck Gerba at the University of Arizona Water Environment Technology Center on the survivability of Ebola surrogate viruses in wastewater. This research was funded by CASA members and colleagues:

Dr. Gerba has provided preliminary results that conclude the viruses do indeed survive in wastewater in the absence of disinfection. In fact the entire bathroom and surfaces become contaminated through flushing. Dr. Gerba has found that both bleach and quaternary disinfectants effectively mitigate the contamination (and also recommends closing the toilet lid, if there is one, prior to flushing). His team is currently assessing the recommended dose and holding time for each disinfectant to completely kill the viruses. This is very important news and supports the guidance developed and revised on January 13th of this year.