Members of the 2023 P3S Conference Committee (Salvador Ochoa, CWEA)

CWEA Honors Outstanding Industrial Facilities at P3S22

Wastewater News

The purpose of the Facility of the Year (FOTY) Award is to create incentive on the part of industrial users taking proactive steps to meet current environmental pollution control standards. The FOTY Award gives an opportunity for CWEA members to provide positive publicity and recognition of the industrial user’s efforts and successes with protecting the water environment.

Members of CWEA’s Northern and Southern California P3S Awards Subcommittees review the nominations and may select the semi-finalists. The Subcommittees may conduct a site visit of each of the semi-finalists. The semi-finalists are selected so as to represent a variety of types of industries located in a variety of control authorities throughout the state that best satisfy the FOTY Award’s criteria.

This award is overseen by the CWEA Pretreatment, Pollution Prevention, and Stormwater Committee. The Awards Co-Chairs are Casey Fitzgerald, City of San José; and Stephen Sealy, LA County Sanitation Districts.


Facilities of the Year – North

Large Category


The Los Esteros Critical Energy Facility was recognized for using 12 million gallons per month from the San Jose Regional Wastewater Facility. Water is also use for the fire suppression system, cooling towers, and further treated with an onsite RO facility. Retrofitted in 2013 to a combined cycle facility with the addition of a steam turbine to capture waste heat. The facility offers tours to the public and also set aside portions of the plant as habitat for burrowing owls.

Nominated by the City of San José.

Facilities of the Year – South

Small Category

Newport Harbor Shipyard

 Voluntarily began treating all wastewater, provides stormwater management, and implements pollution prevention best practices during boat restoration work.  They are meeting strict stormwater point source limits for discharge to Rhine Channel. Their achievements include protecting the harbor; being a good corporate citizen; and working with regulatory agencies on solutions. Water quality in the region has improved tremendous and you can now fish in Newport Harbor.

Nominated by OC San.

Large Category (co-winners)

Bicent (California) Malburg

Vernon Public Utilities

Vernon owns, and Bicent operates, a gas and steam turbine energy generation facility that dates back to the 1930s. The facility uses about 230 million gallons per year of reclaimed water from Central Basin MWD and LACSD. All stormwater that is collected on onsite is used as source water for the cooling tower. Operators clean storm basins to keep them free of debris in case
it rains, and the basins have oil absorbing ‘socks’ installed. Any water with an oily sheen is directed to the oily water separator and then on to the industrial waste sewer. The facility also has multiple pollution prevention strategies.

Nominated by LACSD.

Certificate of Merit – South

Small Category


Lifoam manufactures biodegradable products, such as foam coolers; insulation; foam shipping boxes; pallets; and cold packs. PLA is a big breakthrough since it is biodegradable and manufacturing the products leads to 81% reduction in water use and 100% reduction in petroleum use. The manufacturing facility has extensive stormwater and pollution prevention strategies.

Nominated by LACSD.