Annual Conference Awards and Photos

The CWEA Ops Challenge winners - LA Wrecking Crew (l-r): Mario Gomez, Alternate; Jesus Garibay; Paul Johnson, Captain; Jeff Valdes; Dale Dollins

The CWEA Ops Challenge winners - LA Wrecking Crew (l-r): Mario Gomez, Alternate; Jesus Garibay; Paul Johnson, Captain; Jeff Valdes; Dale Dollins


Local members and agencies were big winners at the Annual Conference in Palm Springs earlier this year.  LABS member and CWEA Past-President Dave Greenwood (LACSD) hosted the awards luncheon – handing out awards to dozens of agencies and individuals.

LABS very own newsletter, Sewer Leaks, was honored as Large Circulation Newsletter of the Year and Editor Wendy Wert (LACSD) received the award. Wendy, a LABS Director, TCC Chair and professional engineer, served as editor over the last three years – never once missing an issue. The editing reigns have now passed to Alice Kuo, also an LACSD engineer. 

Thanks to member and sponsor support LABS was able to donate $1,000 to the Kirt Brooks scholarship fund. Past-President Patrick Griffith and former Treasurer Dan Gary presented the oversized check to CWEA during the awards luncheon.

More stories and photos after the jump…

Click an image to make it larger…

(Photos by Wendy Wert and CWEA staff)

Agency Awards

The County Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County (LACSD) won the Engineering Achievement Award for developing an innovative, cost-effective solution for the Antelope Valley that advances water reuse, protects local water resources, promotes sustainability, limits greenhouse gases and provides flexibility for growth, water reuse, and regulatory compliance.  The projects will cost around $384 million, including:

  • Upgrading two LACSD Water Reclamation Plants (WRPs) including conventional activated sludge with nitrification/denitrification (N/DN), secondary flow equalization, tertiary filtration, and chloramine disinfection to produce Title 22 recycled water meeting the unrestricted reuse standards.
  • Storage reservoirs, pump stations, and pipelines to handle around 2.1 billion gallons of recycled water for agricultural and reuse needs.
  • Acquiring 9,700 acres for agriculture to provide reliability and flexibility while the customer base for recycled water develops.
  • Construction of 1 MGD pilot membrane bioreactor at the Lancaster WRP to optimize practices prior to large-scale implementation with upgraded WRPs.
  • Creating a partnership of nine Antelope Valley agencies to develop an Integrated Regional Water Management Plan for reuse and a “backbone” system to distribute the water.

LA Wrecking Crew Wins Ops Challenge

After a tough loss last year, the LA Wrecking Crew’s grit and determination once again brought home the CWEA championship title and they advance to the WEFTEC national event. Stephen Johnson (LACSD) will serve as team coach at the competition in Orlando and feels they have an excellent chance of bringing home the national title – the team took second last year.

 “The team had a better performance, a consistent performance (at CWEA) this year,” said Stephen. “I think we have the potential to do extremely well at WEFTEC.”

The LACSD Wrecking Crew consists of Dale Dollins; Jesus Garibay; Mario Gomez, Alternate; Paul Johnson, Captain; and Jeff Valdes.

The team has won WEFTEC six times and held the CWEA title for 15 years in a row until 2008. A new Ops Challenge event this year is the use of an Automated External Defibrillator to revive a heart attack victim in the Safety Event.

5S Winners

Pei-Chin Low

Pei-Chin Low

Three people from LABS were also honored as newly inducted 5S members – Pei-Chin Low (MWH), Philip Lo (LACSD) and Patrick Griffith (LACSD) all performed the sacred ceremony of the Select Society of Sanitary Sludge Shovelers and now must wear their golden shovel to CWEA events or pay a fine to the Kirt Brooks Scholarship fund.

Pei-Chin has served as Supervising Engineer and Project Manager for ten years in MWH’s Arcadia office. Starting in 2002 she volunteered as Corporate Director and eventually became LABS President.  In 2007 she received the President’s Special Recognition award and is currently CWEA President-Elect.

“It’s an honor,” said Pei-Chin about the Golden Shovel. “I believe you get more from the CWEA experience than you give – sometimes you think you’re volunteering but really you get back so much more.”

Philip, a member since 1976, has served on a range of CWEA committees and is currently working on the P3S committee planning the 2010 Pre-Treatment, Pollution Prevention and Stormwater conference in Long Beach. Philip pointed out he started out “digging” sludge as a young engineer working on the sludge management master plan for the LA-OC Metropolitan Areas Project (LA/OMA) and thirty years later is once again in the sludge shoveling society.  It’s the circle of CWEA life.

Patrick, an engineer in LACSD’s Air Quality section and LABS Past-President, has been a member since 1993 and held several leadership positions. He’s written extensively about air and odor issues and hosted several CWEA conferences.

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