Employees Recover Family Heirloom Flushed Into Sewer
grateful Union City family got an early Thanksgiving gift
when Collection Services Workers Johnny Powell and Victor
Vasut recovered a priceless family heirloom that had been
flushed down a toilet six weeks earlier.
Mehvish Tapal couldn't find the ring that had been in her
husband's family for 60 years, she asked her three year old
son if he had seen it. "Mama, I flushed it down the toilet,"
the boy replied. "It's gone. It's really, really gone!"
The frantic family called a plumber to televise their lateral
without success. Mehvish then called USD for help.
crews stopped into Mehvish's neighborhood after completing
their regular work assignments on three different days, as
they traveled back to USD's Union City plant in their service
vehicles. They were about to give up when it appeared on November
rare to find something like this. It's like a needle in a
haystack," says Collections Supervisor Shawn Nesgis.
The ring traveled a third of a mile from the Tapal home, down
streets and around corners as it tumbled toward a larger line,
where recovery would have been impossible.
happy family called the media to express their appreciation
after picking up the ring at USD's offices in Union City.
To see the KTVU news story, follow
Powell (left) and Victor Vasut show off the ring they rescued.
Safe Medicine Disposal Information is in ACWD's Fall Newsletter
The Alameda County
Water District (ACWD) recently sent its Fall Newsletter to all residences
and businesses in the Tri-Cities. The newsletter includes information
about USD's FREE Safe Medicine Disposal locations.
USD partners with Washington Hospital Healthcare System and Hallers
Pharmacies to provide dropoff sites for safe disposal of expired
and unwanted medications. Read about our program and Tri-City dropoff
locations on Page 2 of ACWD's
Aqueduct newsletter, and on
our website. If you have any questions about safe medicine disposal,
call USD at 510/477-7639.
Wins Peak Performance Platinum Award
Sanitary District (USD) has received the “Peak Performance
Platinum Award” from the National Association of Clean Water
Agencies (NACWA.) The Platinum Award recognizes the District’s
achievement of 100% compliance with its regulatory permit
requirements for five consecutive years, 2008 through 2013.
These permit conditions are in place to protect the water
quality of San Francisco Bay.
has been recognized by NACWA for 21 continuous years since
the award program began in 1993. “The Platinum Award is
an honor that reflects our ongoing commitment to protect
public health and the environment,” says David Livingston,
Plant Manager. “The combined efforts of all District employees,
particularly our plant operators, mechanics, electricians,
laboratory staff, engineers and environmental compliance
staff, made this achievement possible.”
General Manager Paul Eldredge notes that “USD’s
highly trained, dedicated staff is the reason for our success.
They keep the facilities running smoothly, and they work hard
to prevent harmful materials from being discharged to the
sewer by businesses and industries in our service area.”
Welcomes New General Manager
is pleased to announce that Paul Eldredge
has joined the District as its General Manager. Paul was chosen
to replace Richard Currie, who has served as USD’s General
Manager since 2003 and will retire in September after a 23-year
career at the District.
comes to USD from the City of Brentwood, where he served as
City Manager for three years. Prior to that, he held the positions
of Assistant City Manager, Assistant Public Works Director,
Assistant City Engineer, and Associate and Senior Engineer.
In total, his career at the City spanned 17 years.
have always been partial to wastewater management and engineering,”
says Paul. “USD has a world-class workforce that is dedicated
to protecting public health and San Francisco Bay, and I look
forward to leading an organization that is known as one of
the best-managed Districts in the United States.”
holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Colorado
State University. He is a graduate of California State University
Sacramento with a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering and
is a Registered Civil Engineer in California and Hawaii. He
has lived in the Bay Area since 1997.
involvement in the development of Brentwood’s infrastructure,
including a tertiary treatment facility and several pump stations,
and his experience as a City Manager with strategic planning,
budget preparation and labor negotiations make him a great
fit for USD,” says Richard Currie. “Paul is a hard worker
and has a positive attitude. He shares many of our organization’s
values, including providing great service to our customers,
enhancing the environment, and ensuring that our ratepayers’
dollars are spent wisely.”
Redesigning Our Website
is in the process of redesigning our website to better serve our
customers. In order to know more about what you would like to see
on the website and how you would like to interact with us, we held
focus groups over a period of several months. These groups provided
many great ideas that we plan to incorporate into an easy-to-navigate,
visually appealing format.
USD has many
types of customers. We work with residential, commercial and industrial
customers from the Tri-Cities. We provide educational presentations
to elementary and high schools in our service area, and sponsor
pollution prevention programs such as safe medicine disposal locations.
We inform residents and businesses about proper disposal of Fats,
Oil and Grease (FOG) to maintain healthy sewers, and promote less-toxic
gardening to safeguard our creeks and Bay. All of our programs help
us to fulfill our mission of protecting public health and the environment.
We look forward to organizing information so that each customer
can easily find what is most important to them.
has released a Request for Proposals to website design firms. A
project of this size and complexity requires that we take time to
answer questions from potential vendors to ensure that they understand
what we are looking for and can deliver at a fair price. We will
then evaluate proposals and thoroughly check references before awarding
the contract. We anticipate completing the selection process by
November of 2014. Once the project is underway, it will take four
to six months to design and test the new site before it “goes live”
in the Spring of 2015.
to plan a website that provides you with opportunities to more easily
communicate and work with us, and that will help you to know more
about the great work we do for the Tri-Cities!
Awards Certificates of Merit to Tri-City Industries
28 Tri-City Industries that achieved 100% compliance with water
quality requirements in the 2013 calendar year. The District annually
awards Certificates of Merit to those permitted industries within
its service area that maintain 100% compliance with all wastewater
discharge requirements. In addition, these industries consistently
comply with and implement pollution prevention measures, maintain
a cooperative working relationship with the District, and demonstrate
continuing awareness and understanding of environmental issues and
requirements. Several of the recipients received this honor for
consecutive years of continued compliance.
is responsible for permitting, inspecting and monitoring certain
industries that discharge to its sewer system to ensure compliance
with Federal, State and Local environmental regulations. This is
done not only to protect the treatment plant from toxic discharges,
but also to protect the water quality of San Francisco Bay.
2013 Certificate of Merit honorees:
(number in parentheses
notes consecutive years receiving award)
|Analog Semiconductors (20)
||Intevac, Inc. (5)
||Quality Transport, Inc. (4)
|Applied Thin-Film Products (8)
||Kaiser Permanente Hospital - Fremont
||Quantum Clean #2 (7)
|Boehringer Ingelheim Fremont, Inc. (2)
||Lam Research CA/3 (3)
||Seagate Technology LLC #3, Bldg. C (2)
||Lam Research CA/30 (5)
||Silevo, Inc. (3)
|Enablence USA Comnponents, Inc. (5)
||Microwave Technology, Inc. (3)
||Soraa, Inc. (2)
|Finisar Corporation (11)
||Neophotonics Corporation (8)
||Tri-Cities Recycling & Disposal Facility
|Global Plating, Inc. (4)
||Nitinol Devices & Components, Inc. (2)
||Washington Hospital Healthcare
|Intematix Corporation (2)
||Pantronix Corporation (9)
||Western Digital - Fremont (Bldg. 1)
|Matheson Tri-Gas, Inc. (4)
|California Work Trucks (4)
||Electrochem Slutions, Inc.
||Star Pacific, Inc. (3)
For Info About Wipes and Other Pollution Prevention Tips
on BayWise.org about "flushable" wipes and their
effects on sewers and the environment deserves attention.
Below are some interesting facts about wipes from BayWise
- check the website for more details (and to view a very funny
Flush This" video from the United Kingdom!)
consumers use disposable wipes because they're convenient
for cleaning and disinfecting. Even people who would not normally
embrace disposable products because of concern for overburdened
landfills are using wipes that are being marketed as "flushable."
They don't toss them in the trash; they flush them down the
toilet, believing they've done the right thing.
Wipes Should NOT be Flushed
"flushable" label simply means they will go down
your toilet when flushed. What you should be concerned about
is what can happen next.
toilet paper, disposable wipes (even those labeled "flushable")
do not quickly disintegrate in water. Consumer Reports tested
several brands of wipes labeled "flushable" and
found that while toilet paper disintegrated after about eight
seconds, the wipes still hadn't broken down after 30 minutes.
products stay largely intact as they travel through sewer
pipes and can easily get caught on roots or other debris,
increasing the risk of clogs and sewage overflows. As disposable
wipes grow in popularity, sewer agencies are being forced
to commit additional resources to removing mounds of wipes
clogging up public sewer lines, pumps, and treatment facilities.
While USD has not experienced significant problems with wipes
at our plant and pump stations, their increasing popularity
is a concern. Disposable wipes are an even greater threat
to your home's sewer pipe, which is much smaller and more
easily clogged. In addition to potentially causing clogs and
overflows, many of the cleaning and disinfecting wipes contain
chemicals that are difficult for sewer treatment plants to
remove, and they can thus pollute local waters.
use disposable cleaning/disinfecting wipes, moist towelettes,
baby wipes, personal hygiene wipes or similar disposable or
"flushable" products, put them in the trash, never
in your toilet. Only human waste and toilet paper should be
flushed down your toilet. If you have questions about wipes,
call USD at (510) 477-7621.
Jose Rodrigues Wins Statewide Collection System Worker of the Year
System Worker II Jose Rodrigues has received the statewide
“Collection System Worker of the Year” award from the California
Water Environment Association (CWEA). “Jose’s leadership
skills and contributions to USD’s training and maintenance
programs are very deserving of this recognition,” says James
Schofield, Collection Services Supervisor. “He consistently
displays a ‘can do’ attitude that makes him a great co-worker
and representative of our District.” Jose is the first USD
employee to win this award.
owns and maintains over 780 miles of sewer lines in the
Tri-Cities. The District’s Collection Services Workers clean,
inspect and repair lines daily to help ensure continuous,
uninterrupted service to our customers. They also complete
connections to our system for new construction, mark utilities
for digging, and respond to customer trouble calls 24 hours
a day, seven days a week.
human health and providing professional service to our customers
is an important job,” says Jose, who joined the District
in 2003. “I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned throughout the
years with others, and I strive to be someone that a new
person in the collection services field can look up to.”
accomplishments include helping to develop and construct
an overflow estimating training station at the District’s
Alvarado Treatment Plant in Union City, and presenting technical
training to USD employees and outside agencies. He contributes
as a subject matter expert to the District’s award-winning
training program, helping to develop tools for measuring
competencies and instructing classes. He has also presented
workshops at CWEA conferences and other industry events.
is the California industry association for wastewater professionals,
with about 9,000 members statewide. Jose initially won the
regional Collection System Worker of the Year award in January
2013 for CWEA’s San Francisco Bay Section, which includes
over 1,600 members in Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco
counties, plus a portion of San Mateo County. The regional
award automatically qualified him to compete at the statewide
level. The competition is based on accomplishments and contributions
to the wastewater industry.
Tips For Fats, Oils & Grease Disposal at StopFOG.com!
|USD has a web page with
information to help you dispose of Fats,
Oils and Grease (FOG) properly, and avoid costly, messy sewer
backups in your homes and neighborhoods. Check out our tips
at StopFOG.com, where you can
learn how to keep a delicious meal from turning into a messy
disaster! See StopFOG.com for
a printable Tip Sheet, or read
Wins Purchasing Award
recently won the National Purchasing Institute’s (NPI) Achievement
of Excellence in Procurement Award. The award recognizes the District’s
Materials Management Team for demonstrating excellence in the principles
and practices of procurement. This is the sixth consecutive year
that USD has received the award. USD is one of only 29 Special Districts
in the United States and one of only 40 government agencies in California
to achieve the award for 2012.
obtained high scores in 19 different performance areas evaluated
by the NPI. The criteria are designed to measure innovation, professionalism,
e-procurement implementation, productivity, and leadership attributes
of the procurement arm of an organization.
Materials Management Team is dedicated to obtaining goods and services
that provide the best value to USD and our customers,” says Richard
Cortes, Business Services Manager. “They also continue their proactive
involvement in the District’s emergency preparedness efforts, strategic
planning and use of technology to increase efficiency. This award
recognizes the many contributions they make to help the USD fulfill
its mission to protect the Tri-Cities and San Francisco Bay.”
Alvarado Wastewater Treatment Plant Gives Award-Winning Service
you know that you own Digesters, Aeration Basins and Clarifiers?
Those are just a few of the 53 facilities, buildings and
structures at our Alvarado Treatment Plant in Union City.
Our annual sewer service fees from customers like you
help us to maintain those structures and thousands of
pieces of equipment that are used to treat 26 million
gallons of wastewater at our 33-acre facility every day.
original treatment plant at this location was built in 1962
to handle Union City's wastewater. A regional facility for
Fremont, Newark and Union City was built here and went online
in 1981. It has undergone several upgrades and expansions
as the Tri-Cities have grown. We operate 24/7/365 to protect
public health and the environment for our customers, because
wastewater never stops!
recently received the National Association of Clean Water
Agencies (NACWA) Gold "Peak Performance Award"
for the 2011 calendar year. The Gold Award recognizes the
District's achievement of 100% compliance with its regulatory
permit requirements for an entire year. These permit conditions
are in place to protect the water quality of San Francisco
Bay. We're proud to receive this acknowledgement of our
commitment to environmental protection.
There are many things involved in giving award-winning treatment
to the wastewater we receive! Here are some highlights of
what we use every 24 hours:
kilowatt hours of electricity - about
2,000 times what is used in a typical home. We produce
18% of our electricity ourselves, decreasing our daily
bill from $5,505 to $4,671.
gallons of ferrous chloride
- a purplish-brown liquid
containing lots of iron - to reduce corrosion and
you like to tour the plant? Call (510) 477-7621
to set up an appointment.
Financial Information Is On The Web
view information about USD's finances online! Learn about where
our revenues come from and the types of expenditures we make to
ensure the continuation of our award-winning, reliable service to
our customers. See how our charges stack up against other utility
bills, and compare our rates to other Bay Area agencies and communities.
View The District's Financial Information, click