CWEA P3S Leader John Boyd, 1964 – 2023 (photo by Salvador Ochoa)

P3S Leader John Boyd has Passed Away

Memorial Service Scheduled for March 25, Arcadia. Please RSVP to attend.

Celebrating the Life of John Boyd

Please join us on March 25, 2023, 1:00-4:00 p.m.

Santa Anita Church, Fellowship Hall
226 Colorado Blvd., Arcadia, CA 91007

The family has asked CWEA to gather a list of attendees. Please RSVP by Wednesday March 15 and we look forward to celebrating John’s life with you. Download the event flyer to share with others.


If you would like a mailing address for condolence cards please email Alec Mackie on staff and he’ll provide the mailing address.

By Stephen Sealy, Shannon Simmers, and Alec Mackie

The CWEA community is heartbroken to learn about the passing of John Boyd, a Supervising Industrial Waste Inspector for Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts and past chair of CWEA’s Pretreatment, Pollution Prevention, and Stormwater Committee. John passed away January 29th, the day before this year’s P3S Conference in Monterey was set to begin. He was passionate about the conference, deeply involved in planning, and a highly regarded wastewater leader.

During the opening session of the conference, P3S Committee leader Stephen Sealy provided a brief eulogy about John, and held a moment of silence with the 130 wastewater professionals in attendance.

A member of CWEA and WEF since 1995, John was a strong advocate for the profession, CWEA, and the environment. John’s dedication to training and supporting new inspectors led him to develop dozens of training events for CWEA over his 20 years of volunteer service. He was always leading the way, organizing speakers and topics at the P3S Conference; TriState Conference in Las Vegas; and CWEA’s Annual Conference. He served as chair of the P3S Committee and led the 2012 P3S Conference in Huntington Beach, one of our largest P3S conferences in recent years.

“John will be honored and remembered as one of the pretreatment world’s all-stars,” said Jeff Tucker, President of CWEA. “When it comes to industrial waste regulations, protecting clean water, supporting and training the next generation, and being a kind and giving person, John gave it his all. He loved his team, his job, and the massive responsibility we all shoulder protecting clean water. We are forever grateful for his contributions.”

Many CWEA members remember John fondly for his broad, beaming smile, distinctive hearty laugh, and fascinating stories. There was a never ending well of interesting stories that John could tell and dazzle a group – from industrial waste to geology, to sports, and pop culture. As Past P3S Chair Berlinda Blackburn wrote, “John could have easily been the next great host of Jeopardy. He seemed to know every inlet and pipeline in LACSD’s sprawling system and had an interesting wastewater story about every corner of it.”

If you had a joke, John would be the first to laugh. He supported his team, fellow CWEA members, and people he met along the way with boundless energy. As many of John’s friends would attest, he always had your back, and you could feel that dedication and support anytime he was near.

Patience, Guidance, and Respect

John is highly regarded by his team of LACSD inspectors. In an interview with Finishing and Coating magazine, Stephen Sealy, Co-chair of CWEA’s P3S Awards Committee and LACSD Supervising Inspector, noted that John was a strict regulator who also provided training and support for industries.

“He performed inspections at most, if not all, companies that perform metal finishing in the area,” Sealy told the magazine. “He was not only a regulator but also an advocate, helping many companies understand and comply with the regulations.”

Fellow LACSD Senior Inspector Greg Neunsinger told the magazine Boyd treated all of the inspectors, fellow employees, and dischargers with the utmost respect.

“John’s position required a lot of contacts with other agencies and dischargers that required guidance, patience, and knowledge,” Neunsinger said. “On a personal and professional level, John was always there to offer guidance and support as well as providing a ‘listening ear.’ He is missed already, and I have been fortunate to know and work for John Boyd.”

Graduating from UCLA with a degree in Geology in 1987, John joined LACSD in 1987, and the Industrial Waste Section in 1989. He quickly moved up the ranks within the organization and served as a member of the industrial waste leadership team protecting 11 water reclamation facilities and the Districts massive trunk lines spread across Los Angeles County. 

LA County is America’s largest industrial manufacturing center, and John and the inspection team successfully faced their massive responsibilities. LACSD provides wastewater collection, treatment, and water recycling for communities outside of the City of Los Angeles sewer system. 

John worked on some of the most complex and challenging water quality issues the wastewater community faced as pretreatment regulations in California grew ever more stringent. He and his team rose to the occasion and took steps to prevent pollution after one compound of emerging concern after another led to new regulations and permit requirements throughout the 1990s and 2000s.

He was involved in several Federal and State investigations in order to catch violators and prevent pollution from industrial facilities. He was a member of the leadership team in the 2010s that helped build a massive public outreach program to prevent chlorides from entering the sewer system and potentially harming downstream uses.

John grew up in the foggy and green hillsides of Humboldt County in northwest California. He moved to sunny Los Angeles to go to college. In 1987 he started work with the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts, starting as an Engineering Technician in the Water Quality group monitoring landfills for air and water emissions. In 1989 he became an Industrial Waste Inspector and by 2011 moved up to lead the entire inspection staff. John is survived by his daughter Katrina, son Luke and many loving family members.

John Boyd Stories from CWEA Members

Share your John Boyd story or memory at

Photo shared by Berlinda Blackburn

John was a true friend. Pictured here, in 2004, Ontario nominated Coca-Cola for Facility of the Year (FOTY) and they won. As the inspector for Ontario, I was so proud that they won after all of their hard work to be in compliance. John coordinated the site visits for the Awards and he always chose the best places for lunch. He could talk about any subject. He could have been the new Jeopardy host. I’ll truly miss him.
Berlina Blackburn, P3S Past Chair, Blackburn Environmental Services 

John was a colleague, a mentor, and above all things a great friend. The influence he had on the lives of those who knew him is a legacy that will never be forgotten. John always took time to solve people’s problems and help them achieve their goals, without hesitation and regardless of the size of the problem or status of the person.

He was a caring, respectful man who understood how to lead by example. I am a better person for having known John and consider myself privileged to have his guidance in my life. John will be greatly missed but will live on forever in our hearts and minds.
Jonathon Powell, Past P3S Chair, OC San

I will forever remember John Boyd as my dear friend, mentor, and someone who I admired for his love of life, dedication, and passion for what he believed in. One of those passions was his involvement with the CWEA P3S Committee. We worked together countless times over the years in preparation for meetings, conferences, presentations, special projects, and networking events. The last time I was able to enjoy the spark and excitement of his company was the 2022 CWEA P3S annual conference in Long Beach. As usual John was up for the networking events and participated with so much joy.

I will always think fondly on the memory of him running around trying to solve the clues for the scavenger hunt that Sunday before the conference. I was so impressed with how well his team did and honesty they won!! Meeting the rest of us at Starbucks for a cold water at the end. That day and the rest of the conference was filled with so many special memories I will hold near to my heart. I will miss you forever John!
Shannon Simmers, Past P3S Chair, City of Redlands

John always took the time to mentor those around him. Every conversation I had with him had a little bit of wisdom and a little bit of humor.

Edwin Alonzo, P3S Vice Chair, City of Fontana

I last saw John on Thursday, January 26, 2023, during a zoom call meeting about the upcoming CWEA P3S conference. At the end of the meeting, a question came up about what we should do if we had more guests arrive at an award luncheon beyond the number of lunches we had arranged for. John’s answer was that he would not eat lunch that day, so that the guests could have lunch. That’s the kind of man he was. He was always willing to give up his time, or his lunch, for the sake of others. God bless John, his wife, and all his family and friends.

Tracy Wyhlidko, P3S Conference volunteer and Board member for the Northern Sacramento Valley Section of CWEA, City of Redding

I had the privilege of working with John through the Los Angeles Basin Section over the past 10 years. There are too many stories to mention. He was honest, forthright, and caring. He will most certainly be missed.

Chris DeMonbrun, Past President LA Basin Section of CWEA, City of Los Angeles, LA Sanitation and Environment

John had a welcoming personality that attracted people to get more involved with CWEA in all disciplines. He gave fully of his knowledge and time. What an outstanding leader he was. Although I only knew him as a colleague, I admired his passion for our profession and his dedication to excellence. He was interwoven into the fabric of our P3S conferences ensuring we had great training. His passing is a great loss.

Carrie Mattingly, CWEA Past President, Retired City of San Luis Obispo

I recall John dressing up with Shannon Simmer at a P3S conference in 2019 as an astronaut. He was always the life of the room and he was the most accommodating of random questions from new inspectors without judgement. I had many.

Always wanted to try and work with him on a CWEA project, and know he will never be replaced in this profession, WITHOUT A DOUBT.

It is with sadness that I write this… One of a Kind! John!

Kevin Van Patten, Board Member Northern San Joaquin Section, City of Turlock

There is this saying that at times we stand on the shoulders of giants. This goes without saying, but I am sure most of us will absolutely consider John Boyd one of those giants. When I first started at IEUA 16 years ago, my supervisor (Craig Proctor) had always let me know that as part of our agreement to discharge brine wastewater to LACSD, that LACSD staff were great resources.

I consider myself fortunate to have crossed paths with many folks at LACSD. I am grateful to have been able to pick John’s brain over the years. He was always patient with me when I had questions and I really saw John in action along with Steve Sealy when we did the joint investigation back in 2015 which resulted in a raid that shut down an industry. On behalf of IEUA, our heart aches with LACSD at the passing of John.
Ken Tam, IEUA

Years ago, when I was on the P3S Committee, John would pick me up and drop me back off at the airport when I attended meetings in Southern California. I’ll always remember the talks we had on those drives. John was a great mentor and friend. He will be dearly missed.
Steven Aguiar, City of Livermore

I knew John from the conferences. John was always so earnestly engaged in the conference, its purpose, and the people. He was so genuine and caring. He knew how to use just enough humor to keep the serious topics interesting and further capture the attention of the audience. His loss is deeply felt and reverberates through the industry. He will be greatly missed. My deepest condolences to his family and friends.
– Randell Ishii, Monterey County

When I met John at a Pretreatment conference I was living in Humboldt County working as the Pretreatment Coordinator for the City of Eureka. During his presentation he mentioned that he was from Humboldt County, so I introduced myself after his talk. He asked me what I thought of the conference, and I confessed that I felt outclassed because others were dealing with far greater pollution issues than I was. John reminded me that I lived in one of the most pristine areas of the country and told me that it was my job to keep it that way. I have never forgotten what he told me.
Justin Boyes, LOTT Clean Water

I did not know John well but when I did interact with him, I was very appreciative of his responsiveness, conscientiousness, and helpfulness in his capacity at LACSD. He was also a very nice man and we exchanged stories of our kids in college. I am very sorry to hear of his passing and my heart goes out to his family, friends, and colleagues.

Kim Garvey, Moffatt & Nichol

Photos above by Salvador Ochoa and CWEA archives.