California Water Environment Association                                        August-September 2008
Leader Link

News, insights, and advice for CWEA's volunteer leaders                     

This Issue:

Annual Planning Meeting 
Oct 7

Certification Applications Due Nov. 30 for Jan-Mar Testing Window

Awards Update: No More Binder, 2 New Awards

Recruiting & Retaining Members

Save The Dates - Conferences

Get "Liquid Assets" Documentary Aired on Your Local PBS Station

No Drugs Down The Drain Campaign Oct. 4-11

Board Nominations Due 
Dec 17

Annual Planning Meeting October 7, 2008
CWEA’s Annual Planning Meeting is set for October 7th at Irvine Ranch Water District. If you are a current or future local section or committee volunteer leader, please attend…and bring a prospective volunteer leader with you. 

At this year’s meeting we’ll discuss how Local Sections, Committees, and the Board can all work together to bring our mission to life. Several questions related to this theme will be discussed in a unique discussion group approach called a World CaféThe agenda will also discuss hot topics such as:

  • Leadership training plan (Get an outline of resources and training to help you be successful in your CWEA volunteer role)

  • Top 10 Reasons why we need financial reports (Find out why Local Sections and Committees need to send in financial reports)

  • Member Communications Task Force (Learn the status of this Task Force working on revamping CWEA’s web site and revising CWEA member publications.)

  • Certification Prep Task Force (Get an update on this new task force focused on certification study sessions, study guides, and moderator training.)  


Local section and committee leaders can also relax, exchange ideas, challenges, and plans at the networking lunch.

The agenda and invitation were sent via Evite directly to CWEA's volunteer leaders on August 18. If you didn’t receive the Evite or can’t open it, contact Victoria Rawson at [email protected] or 510-382-7800 x113


What is a World Café?  
The World Café is an innovative workshop technique that fosters engaging conversations in a welcoming and relaxed environment. Discussions around an issue take place at small tables with a few people. After some time, one person stays at the table while the rest rotate to other tables for conversations with new people. By the end of the session, each participant will have gained diverse perspectives and unexpected insights on the meeting's theme. More information about the World Café process is available at



Certification Applications Due November 30 for Jan-Mar Testing Window

Computer-based Testing is Almost Here!
The new certification applications are now available to download at Be sure to include an announcement in your local section newsletter, and let members know at meetings. If you would like a packet of hardcopy applications to distribute, please contact Vivien Malig at 510-382-7800 x 106 or [email protected].

The deadline to apply for the first testing window (January-March) is November 30. Our new streamlined application screening process allows us to review applications and get test qualification notices out much sooner. This means applicants don’t have to wait until after the application deadline to find out if they qualify for their test. Test notification letters will include information about scheduling a test in one of over 100 testing centers in California (test centers are also available in Oregon , Nevada , and Arizona ).


Encourage Applicants to Apply Early
Although test centers are open Monday through Saturday, and during some evenings, space may be limited. The sooner they apply and get approved to take the test, the sooner they can schedule a test when and where they want it. Applicants will be able to schedule tests beginning October 20.  


Ask Your CWEA Board Liaison to Give a CBT Presentation at Your Next Board Meeting
CWEA Board Liaisons are available to give CBT update presentations at local section board meetings. Learn the latest about how testing windows work, how to schedule test dates, the evolving roles of Local Section TCP Chairs, and how the new Test Preparation Preparation Task Force is working on study guides and study sessions. Click here for the list of Board Liaisons.


Be Sure to Update Your Local Section Web Site With New TCP Info
There are a few local web sites with old information about the certification process. Please ask your webmaster to review your certification pages and make updates to reflect the new CBT testing procedures.


For more information about test site locations, scheduling, and computer-based testing visit  


Important Awards Updates 

Awards Applications Now Online!

In our continuing efforts to save paper, time, and other resources, all awards materials are now available exclusively online for download. Binders will no longer be arriving by mail. All CWEA local section and committee leaders have been notified of this change via email, and by regular mail. Please contact us at [email protected] or 510-382-7800 x114 if you need any assistance finding or downloading a nomination form.  


There are more than 20 categories for CWEA awards, which honor CWEA members and wastewater professionals in California . The program serves to recognize outstanding professional achievements within the wastewater field, improve the professional status of all personnel working in the wastewater industry and related fields, and stimulate public awareness of the importance of wastewater treatment to public health and the water environment.


The CWEA awards season is well underway and the time to nominate is now! The first award banquets (and the first section winners) take place in November.  With 17 integrated awards programs (for our 17 local section), it is important for you to get in touch with the section to which you belong – and make sure you don’t miss your deadline.   


Two New Awards Now Available!  

This season, there are two new award categories: Public Education Person of the Year Award, and Young Professional Person of the Year. Be the first to nominate a winner for one of these fresh CWEA industry awards!

  • Outstanding Young Professional Award: The CWEA Students and Young Professionals Committee (SYPC) has established a new award for Young Professionals called the “Outstanding Young Professional Award.” This award is based on the WEF YP Award.  This new CWEA award will recognize the up and coming talent in the wastewater industry including, but not limited to, operators, engineers, and laboratory staff. This award will also help to identify future leaders within CWEA.  Each Local Section can present this award with the winner moving on to the State Awards.  Contact Jennifer Lee, SYPC Chair from the North, [email protected], with any questions regarding the award. 

  • Public Education Person of the Year Award: The CWEA Public Education Committee is pleased to announce the establishment of the Public Education Person of the Year Award. This award acknowledges the hard work and accomplishments of any CWEA member who has helped to develop or implement education programs for personnel in the water pollution control field or who has implemented or participated in public information/education activities. In order to win at the state level, a nominee will first need to have won at the local level. Devina Douglas, State Public Education Chairperson, at [email protected] with any questions related to the nomination process or form.   


Winners at the local section level are brought forward to the State competition. These nominees are judged in January and February, just in time for the State Awards Luncheon at our annual conference in April.


For local section award  deadlines, contact the local section awards chair near you at:


For applications and information about the state competition, visit us at:  



Recruiting and Retaining Members in Challenging Economic Times
In recent months you may have heard from some members that they are facing some challenging economic times. The State budget crisis, declining property tax revenue, and the slowing of economic growth may force some of our members to assess the value of CWEA membership. When it comes time to renew, they are more likely to ask themselves about the value they receive for their membership dues.

As a leader, you are probably well aware of the value membership in CWEA provides. However, your members may only be aware of just a glimpse of what we have to offer. For these members, it is important for local section and committee leaders to take every opportunity to help them see just how much they can get out of CWEA. Here are a few suggestions to help you promote the value of CWEA membership among your members and prospective members.  

Give Your Members Value Messages
At every meeting, dinner, or training reinforce the value of membership through value messages. Tell them about the following products and services that are available to CWEA members:

  • Free downloadable study guides and practice manuals help them prepare for certification and improve their performance.  This is a new member benefit.

  • Affordable training opportunities.

  • Access to news and information about the industry (Wastewater Professional, Ebulletin)

  • Training and resources related to the ever-changing regulatory environment (e.g. SSO/WDR training and info).

  • Leadership skills by participating on committees and boards.  Being involved as a CWEA volunteer can be very rewarding—share those stories with you members.

  • Opportunities to connect with other professionals who share a wealth of knowledge and help each other solve practical work-related problems.

  • CWEA is a lot of fun too! A big part of CWEA is making new friends, relaxing at BBQs or section dinners, and other fun social events. Take the time to seek out new members at CWEA events and help them to feel welcome.  


Ways to Promote the Value of CWEA Membership

  • Run an article in each issue of your newsletter about the value of membership. Include testimonials.

  • Reinforce membership value at each meeting. Start each meeting with remarks from the podium on the benefits of belonging to CWEA..

  • Call members who have not renewed. Contact [email protected] for a list of members in your section who have recently let their membership lapse.

  • Distribute membership application packets and other membership promotional materials at each meeting.

  • Remind existing members why they belong at every meeting with a member benefits flyer. Click here for a member benefit flyer you can download, print, and distribute.  


Specialty Conferences ~ Save the Date!  

This fall and winter we have some great specialty workshops coming your way. Be sure to let your members know that they can earn contact hours for certification at all of these events.

  • Ethics IS For Everyone: November 4 (Calabasas, CA) and 6 (Elk Grove, CA) - Attend this workshop to gain insight and hear examples of how the public's perception and being in the public eye can impact you and your agency.

  • Maximizing Your Pumps' Performance: 3 Workshops in late Fall - Learn about the different types of pumps used in wastewater conveyance and how to select the right pump for the application. 

  • BioSolids Dewatering: January 27 (Carson, CA)  and 28 (Oakland, CA)- Tour state of the art dewatering facilities and learn from experts about design and operation of dewatering facilities. 

  • Math Anxiety :Feb 26 (location TBD) and March 5 (location TBD)- Haven't taken a math class in years? Preparing for your certification test? Come learn how to approach a single and multiple step math problem. 

  • Odor Control: Late Winter - Learn about odor sampling, measurement, regulations, policies and chemical and physical treatment of odors. 


Visit for more information and how to register



Liquid Assets: The Story of our Water InfrastructureGet Liquid Assets Documentary Aired on Your Local PBS Station

We are pleased to announce CWEA is working in conjunction with the Water Environment Federation (WEF) and Penn State Public Broadcasting  to bring Liquid Assets: The Story of Our Water Infrastructure to PBS stations throughout the country. Here in California, we need your help.

Liquid Assets is a ninety-minute documentary, telling the story of essential infrastructure systems: water, wastewater, and stormwater. As leaders in these fields, we know all too well these systems — some in the ground for more than 100 years — provide a critical public health function and are essential for economic development and growth. Largely out of sight and out of mind, these aging systems have not been maintained, and some estimates suggest that addressing the needs of these systems is the single largest public works endeavor in our nation's history.

We hope that you and your respective agencies can help us support our efforts to get this documentary aired on all local PBS stations by writing to your local PBS station so we can bring this message to our residents. The Public Education Committee has drafted a letter you can customize to help voice your support of airing Liquid Assets on your local PBS station. 


Resources Available:

  • If you would like to know more about Liquid Assets, view the trailer, or download graphics to add to your agency's website, further information can be found at (please be aware that Penn State Public Broadcasting has asked that this site not be used for public viewing or advertised externally).

  • For local PBS Station contact info please see: PBS Station Contact Information

  • For a template of a letter to send to your local PBS Station click here

  • Visit to learn more about WEF's efforts to share information about Liquid Assets.


Thank you for your consideration of this project and please don't hesitate to contact Devina Douglas, Public Education Committee Chair at [email protected] about CWEA's efforts to spread the word about this exciting project.




No Drugs Down the Drain Campaign News

“No Drugs Down the Drain!”  is just a few  weeks away, scheduled for October 4-11, 2008. The campaign will involve agencies and organizations throughout the state, as well as state and federal partners such as the State Water Resources Control Board and US EPA Region 9. We need your participation!

Recent studies reporting pharmaceutical compounds in the environment highlight the need for alternatives to flushing unwanted medication. By providing residents with alternatives, we can immediately tackle one of the sources of pharmaceuticals in the environment.

There are many ways to participate in the “No Drugs Down the Drain!” campaign, such as:

  • Conduct and promote a pharmaceutical take-back event in your local area.

  • Promote existing disposal options.

  • Educate residents to never flush drugs down the drain.

  • Assist with coordination, outreach, funding or in-kind services such as graphic design, pharmacist volunteers, event space and advertising.

  • Become a partner on (Statewide Campaign Tab)


You may also visit the campaign website, for further information, frequently asked questions and a PowerPoint presentation. The first set of the informational materials is now available at the No Drugs Down the Drain website at:



CWEA Board Nominations Due December 17 
Nominations for the 2009 CWEA Board of Directors positions are now open. Local section and committee officers have received the Executive Committee request for nominations for CWEA Directors and Officers. Below is a summary of the nomination process – and how you can become involved in selecting your leaders. 

The Nomination Process 
Per the CWEA Constitution and Bylaws, the Executive Committee serves as the nominating committee, and is made up of the current President, Past President, and the Chairs of the three board committees. The President chairs the Executive Committee. The members of this year’s Executive Committee are: 

David Greenwood 
CWEA President, Executive Committee Chair 

Darren Greenwood 
President Elect Planning & Program Development Committee Chair 

Gino Rapagna 
Treasurer, Operations Board Committee Chair 

Maura Bonnarens 
CWEA Past President Steve Agor WEF Delegate Director, Membership & External Relations Committee Chair 

Pei-Chin Low 
CWEA Vice President, serves as a non-voting member 

Every year the Executive Committee requests nominations from members, local sections, and CWEA committees for candidates who able and willing to perform the duties and responsibilities of the positions open for nomination. Nominees are vital to the continued success of CWEA. This is an opportunity to function at a higher volunteer level, to get involved in setting the future direction of our Association, and to home your leadership skills. 

The selection process is handled the same as a typical job recruitment process. The Executive Committee interviews each nominee and considers their past employment activity in the industry, level of CWEA activity, leadership qualities and values, record of prior duties and commitments, understanding of the workings of CWEA, the nominees’ views and opinions on the future needs of CWEA, and the desire for the CWEA Board to represent the diversity of the membership. It also allows the nominees the opportunity to expand upon their qualifications and their ability to serve in these key positions. 

Following this process, the Executive Committee presents the recommended slate to the CWEA Board for approval at the February Board meeting. The candidates are subsequently presented to the membership for a vote at the business meeting during the annual conference in April. At that time any member may nominate another member from the floor to be considered by the membership along with those candidates presented by the Executive Committee. The exact protocol is described in the CWEA Constitution. 

This year the Executive Committee requests your help in soliciting nominees for the following open board positions: 

  • Vice President (from the North, will be President in third year of a four-year service) 
  • Director at-large from the South (three-year term) 
  • Director at-large from the North (serve as CWEA Treasurer in third year of three-year term) 
  • Water Environment Federation (WEF) Director from the North (three-year term starting in October, however attendance at meetings starting immediately after April election is recommended) 


Nominations for all candidates must be submitted in writing to the CWEA office and received by December 17, 2008 with a brief biography of the candidate. Candidates should have confirmed their willingness to serve and submitted a picture and a completed questionnaire concerning their qualifications and commitment by December 17, 2008 – the date the nominations are due. If you are unable to contact the person you are nominating, please submit early so that staff can request the information from them on your behalf.   

In 2009, the Vice-President nominee will become President in their third year of service and will serve on the Executive Committee. The Director at-large from the North will become a member of the Operations Committee and become the CWEA Treasurer in the third year on the Board. Thus, consideration of nominees will include experience in financial matters. 

WEF Delegate Directors and Directors-at-Large serve a three-year term of office and also function as CWEA Board members. To preserve balance in the numbers of representatives from the North and South, WEF Delegate Directors from the North are replaced by representatives from the South, and vice versa. As the term of WEF Delegate Director Agor from the South is ending in 2009, the WEF Delegate Director position will be filled from the North. WEF Delegate Directors are elected in April, but do not take office until October, at WEF’s annual conference. WEF Delegate Directors-Elect are expected to attend CWEA Board meetings beginning immediately upon their election.   

Job Descriptions for the Board of Directors   
As part of service on the Board, each director is a member of a board committee. Details of the assignment of board committee membership and the responsibility of each board position can be found in the Board Bylaws. A copy of the bylaws can be obtained by contacting Victoria Rawson at the CWEA office or online at You will need your membership number to log on. 


STAFF CONTACTS - 510-382-7800


Latasha King x 110


Publications & Advertising

Kristina Basgen x 114


Local Sections & Committees

Chris Lundeen  x 104


SSO-WDR Training

x 115


Brian Murray x 102



x 114



Leslie Carino x 107


Conferences & Exhibits

Marci Chase x 120



Leadership Calendar
September 25-27 Computerized certification test demos at Tri-State Seminar on the River

October 4-11

No Drugs Down the Drain Campaign Week
October 7 Southern Regional Committee Meeting, Irvine Ranch 
Water District HQ
October 7 Annual Planning Meeting,  Irvine Ranch Water District HQ
October 15 Northern Safety Day - Yolo County Fairgrounds
November 30 Certification applications due for January-March testing window
December 4 Northern Regional Committee meeting, CWEA HQ Oakland
December 4 Certification Preparation Seminar, City of Oxnard Community Center (hosted by Tri-Counties Section)
December 17 CWEA Board nominations due, including completed questionnaire and bio.
January 2 Computer-based certification testing begins
January 9 Local section & committee award submissions due for state awards
January 15 Kirt Brooks Memorial Water Environment Scholarship applications due
February 6-7 CWEA Board workshop and meeting, San Diego
April 28 CWEA Board meeting, Palm Springs
May 2 CWEA Board meeting, Palm Springs

For more information about upcoming Local Section Events
For more information about CWEA conferences

Leader Link: Linking Local Sections, Committees, Board Liaisons, and Past Presidents
For more info contact us at [email protected]