Celebrating Champions of California’s Water: Highlights from the 95th Annual CWEA Awards Ceremony

Announcements, Members in the News

Thirteen organizations and eight individuals were celebrated as honorees of the 95th Annual California Water Environment Association (CWEA) Awards, recognizing those who have significantly contributed to the enhancement of California’s water environment. These winners were selected from a competitive pool of over 250 applications and honored at a ceremony held on April 11, 2024, in Sacramento, California.

For 95 years, the CWEA awards program has continued to honor the exemplary efforts of individuals and agencies throughout the state who are leaders in engineering, wastewater operations, collection systems, laboratory work, and pretreatment programs. The award process is stringent, involving a thorough application review and two rounds of peer evaluation to identify those who have achieved outstanding success in protecting and improving our water resources.

“We believe in celebrating the dedication of our members every day, but this year’s award recipients truly stand out as the pinnacle of excellence is clean water,” said Chuck Greely, 2023-2024 President of CWEA and Assistant Director of Engineering at Dudek. “Their remarkable contributions serve as a testament to the passion and expertise within our community, driving us towards a sustainable California water environment.” For more information about the California Water Environment Awards, visit awards.cwea.org.

2024 CWEA Awards, Organizational Recipients

Collection Systems, Large (Over 500 Miles)
City of Roseville
Roseville, Calif.

Collection Systems, Medium (Between 250-500 Miles)
Jurupa Community Services District
Jurupa Valley, Calif.

Collection Systems, Small (0-249 Miles)
Selma-Kingsburg-Fowler County Sanitation District
Fresno County, Calif.

Plant of the Year, Large (Over 20MGD)
Sac Sewer, EchoWater Resource Recovery Facility
Sacramento County, Calif.

Plant of the Year, Medium (Between 5-20MGD)
Napa San, Soscol Water Recycling Facility
Napa, Calif.

Plant of the Year, Small (Less than 5MGD)
County of San Luis Obispo, Los Osos Water Recycling Facility
Los Osos, Calif.

Safety Plant of the Year, Small (Less than 25 Employees)
Valley Sanitary District
Indio, Calif.

Safety Plant of the Year, Medium (26 – 75 Employees)
Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts, Lancaster Water Reclamation Plant
Lancaster, Calif.

Dr. Jenkins Research Achievement
Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts, Full-Scale Evaluation of the High Purity Oxygen Ludzack-Ettinger (HPOLE) Process at the A.K. Warren Water Resource Facility
Whittier, Calif.

Engineering Achievement
Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority, Renewable Natural Gas Project
Victorville, Calif.

Community Engagement and Outreach: Project of the Year, Large (Over 20MGD)
County of Santa Clara Public Health Department, “Poop Don’t Lie” Wastewater Monitoring Campaign
Santa Clara, Calif.

Community Engagement and Outreach: Project of the Year, Medium (Between 5-20MGD)
Valley Sanitary District, The Evolution of Wastewater Treatment in the Coachella Valley
Indio, Calif.

Community Engagement and Outreach: Project of the Year, Small (Less than 5MGD)
Castro Valley Sanitary District, CVSan’s Wastewater Comic Book “Defenders of the Bay!”
Castro Valley, Calif.

2024 CWEA Awards, Individual Recipients

Collection System Person of the Year
Hugo Gonzalez, Leucadia Wastewater District
Carlsbad, Calif.

Supervisor of the Year
Latif Laari, Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority
Victorville, Calif.

Electrical Instrumentation Person of the Year
Ruby Dela Cruz City of San Diego
San Diego, Calif.

Mechanical Technician Person of the Year
Christopher Biles, City of Barstow
Barstow, Calif.

Operator of the Year
Raul Villalpando, City of Escondido – Hale Avenue Resource Recovery Facility
Escondido, Calif.

Pretreatment, Pollution Prevention & Stormwater Person of the Year
Jason Finn, Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts
Whittier, Calif.

Laboratory Person of the Year
Heidi Birdsell, Dublin-San Ramon Services District,
Dublin, Calif.

Outstanding Young Professional of the Year
Alice Wang, HDR
Irvine, Calif.

These agencies are leading the nation by developing cutting edge, advanced reuse projects.
This past year, leaders from CWEA and CA-NV AWWA have travelled the state recognizing and honoring California’s Advanced Water Treatment Champions.