August 2016 – President’s Message

Greetings to all San Francisco Bay Section members of CWEA! arvind

I hope you had a good summer break and were able to take some time off of your busy working life to spend with your loved ones. It took me a while to get my first message out, but, after much anticipation, here it is.

Membership and Participation:  The San Francisco Bay Section has been doing a remarkable job in terms of overall membership. As of August 2016, the Bay Section has over 1,600 active members and is growing. While we are seeing an almost all-time high membership, we are also experiencing a high level of participation in the local training activities organized by the Board and its committees. The credit goes to our local section leaders and volunteers, especially at the committee level, who are putting time and effort to contribute into our local wastewater community in line with the CWEA’s mission of providing training, certification, dissemination of technical information and promotion of sound policies to benefit society through protection and enhancement of the water environment. Please join me in thanking our volunteers at future events.

Recent Events: In January, the Section held its annual Awards and Installation Banquet in Walnut Creek.  The event was well attended, and members are reminded to start working on their award nominations for 2016. Details will follow soon.  In February, the newly installed 2016 Board had its first meeting at Hs Lordships for annual planning. The Students and Young Professions Committee (SYPC) also organized the Student Night Career Fair and Dinner Meeting here the same day. SYPC did an amazing job in attracting large number of employers and students. This annual event provides a great platform for attracting fresh talents into wastewater industry. In March, we held a joint meeting with the Santa Clara Valley Section which included a plant tour of Hayward Water Pollution Control Facility followed by a presentation of projects and programs that made Hayward the SF Bay Section’s 2015 Plant of the Year for medium sized plants. In April, a presentation on Regional San’s EchoWater Project at Back Forty BBQ drew a record number of attendees. In May, we recognized Member Appreciation Day with a BBQ while watching the A’s play against Yankees followed by fireworks. In June, I presented updates of an ongoing food waste program at Silicon Valley Clean Water. With a summer break in the month of July, our most recent dinner meeting occurred at Spenger’s in Berkely where Nirmala Arsem, Manager of Lab Services, EBMUD presented ongoing research on microplastics in wastewater. Our next dinner meeting is a joint event on September 15th with Redwood Empire Section with a tour or Budweiser plant followed by dinner meeting.

The year has also included a number of successful training events organized by various committees covering a wide range of local issues.

New Challenges: As with most agencies, we at Silicon Valley Clean Water are going through a transition in the wastewater industry where many facilities are ageing and require significant rehabilitation or replacement. Therefore, it poses great opportunities to try and implement new technologies that improve the overall performance of the plant. We are seeing other facilities adopting new technologies, replacing the conventional ones that offer high performance and energy savings while meeting the regulatory requirements. Some of these technologies are becoming the topics of discussion in our monthly meetings and all-day seminars. I encourage you to share any and all experiences and ideas that can be a great training topic for wastewater community. I am always open to provide avenue such as dinner meetings or seminars for sharing useful information.

Reminder for Annual Award Nominations: Our 2016 annual award nominations period is now starting. Please help recognize the efforts and successes of your work by submitting a nomination. In an effort to simplify the process, CWEA has switched to an on-line system. Additional details can be found on CWEA’s webpage.  Good luck!

I look forward to seeing you in our upcoming local CWEA events. If you want to contact me with any suggestions or feedback, I can be reached at

Best regards,

Arvind Akela

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