WCW Appoints New General Manager
WCW’s Board of Directors appointed Andrew Clough as the new General Manager at its regular Board meeting on April 5, 2023.

Andrew previously served as WCW Deputy General Manager and has over 30 years of management and operations experience. At WCW, he has spearheaded management of significant projects for WCW, most recently the Clean and Green Project, the Living Levee Project, and significant intergovernmental agreements.


WCW Celebrates Clean Water Act with EPA Leaders
WCW was honored to be part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) tour on September 14, 2022, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act. The Act has been instrumental in controlling pollution and maintaining water quality across the country and locally. WCW received funding from the Act in the late 1970s and early 1980s to build much of the Water Quality and Resource Recovery Plant, which has set the stage for many new, exciting projects happening today, including the Clean & Green sustainability project.
 
The tour welcomed U.S. EPA Assistant Administrator Radhika Fox, EPA Region 9 Regional Administrator Martha Guzman and CalEPA Secretary Yana Garcia, as well as Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia and many WCW partners. Attendees explored the North Richmond Shoreline Living Levee Project and learned about WCW’s projects, dedication to protecting the environment and commitment to community stewardship.

What is an EQ Basin?
Clean & Green Project Update
Did you know? Equalization basins (EQ basins) play a critical role in protecting public health and the environment. These basins, or storage facilities, collect excess sewage at WCW’s Water Quality and Resource Recovery Plant during peak flow periods. The flow equalization process allows WCW to manage sewage flow rate, organic loading, strength of wastewater streams, pH, and temperature over a 24-hour period. The basins can also store flows when WCW is not able to discharge due to natural disasters, construction projects or damaged outfall. 
 
The WCW plant has three EQ basins, and a fourth basin is being constructed as part of the Clean & Green Project. The new basin will give WCW more capacity to hold incoming sewage and runoff during the rainy season, providing much-needed additional storage.
 
Excavation of the newest basin started last summer, and the vault foundation was poured on October 10, 2022. Samples of the concrete used for the pour were taken to conduct a stress test, ensuring the foundation is stable. The basin, just one part of WCW’s Clean & Green Project, is expected to be complete in the summer of 2023.
 
Overall, the Clean & Green Project is revolutionizing the way WCW treats wastewater. For example, the sludge that was once dried and hauled off-site will be replaced by a thermal sludge drying system, which will greatly improve WCW’s control over its handling of biosolids and produce usable power resources. Upgrades include:
 
  • New grit separation system
  • New raw sludge pumps
  • Rotary drum thickeners
  • High-efficiency aeration blower
  • New digesters
  • Dual 450kW cogeneration system powered by biogas from the digester
  • Sludge dewatering system
  • Sludge thermal dryer system
  • Two new centrifuges
  • Equalization basins
  • Additional solar arrays
  • High-efficiency lighting upgrades
 
Together, these systems’ onsite energy generation will meet a significant majority of the electricity needs of WCW’s facilities and wastewater treatment operations.  
 
A project of this magnitude requires meticulous planning and behind-the-scenes work before construction can begin. Stay tuned for a new website coming soon that explains even more about the Clean & Green Project!
Additional Funds Advance Living Levee Project
WCW received an additional $50,000 in grants from the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority (SFBRA) to support planning and design of the North Richmond Shoreline Living Levee Project. The Living Levee Project will:

  • Create upland transition zones, which link tidal marsh and upland habitats, and high tide refuges for wildlife and native plants
  • Provide added flood protection for the community and critical wastewater system infrastructure, in coordination with the WCW Clean & Green Project
  • Improve public access and amenities along the North Richmond Shoreline, including completing segments of the Bay Trail within the project area

The new funds will be used for tribal engagement and storytelling services, which will serve as a key component of public engagement and planned interpretive features. The Watershed Project conducted a series of interviews with tribal leaders of the Confederate Villages of Lisjan, who are the original inhabitants of the North Richmond Shoreline. The interviews and artwork from the Lisjan people will be used for interpretive signage in and around the project to tell past, present and future stories about the native people.
 
The Living Levee Project, a collaboration between WCW, SFBRA, and environmental design specialists Mithun, Inc., will set the stage for the broader North Richmond Collaborative Shoreline Plan. Planning and preliminary design is underway and is funded primarily by a separate SFBRA grant. Tribal engagement will be led by the local Watershed Project, a sub-consultant to Mithun, Inc.
 
Learn more in the summer edition of the Lateral at wcwd.org/connect or on the SFBRA and Bay Area Regional Collaborative websites.
Opening Doors to Wastewater Careers
WCW supports the education of those looking to enter the water or wastewater field, through our role as a signatory member of BAYWORK. This San Francisco Bay Area organization works to develop and sustain a reliable industry workforce.

Also in support of educational opportunities, WCW offers an internship program that gives local, college-aged students a jumpstart on their careers. We’re excited to have three new interns, two working in the lab and one supporting our Environmental Programs Division with customer service, research, data-tracking, community outreach, and FOG (fats, oils and grease) prevention compliance data entry.
 
Here’s a spotlight of one of our newest faces!
Albert Duenas, a senior at UC Berkeley, was hired in collaboration with utility firm ENGIE North America, WCW’s partners on our Clean & Green sustainability project. He works in the lab, gaining field experience, performing laboratory duties, and receiving direction and mentoring from our experienced lab manager and lab analysts. Albert, who is studying molecular cellular biology, began his studies at Richmond’s Contra Costa Community College and is excited to use his internship role to give back to the community in which he grew up. 

Get more details on how WCW supports education and growing the workforce at wcwd.org/careers/#career-edu
Women in Wastewater Alter Status Quo
Judy Chen’s desire to serve others drives her day-to-day actions, especially in the workplace. Judy, a first-generation Asian-American, has seen progress and positive changes for women in a traditionally male-dominated industry. Judy is a passionate and hard-working employee who looks at every problem as a project and believes in taking ownership and responsibility for her work. Read her full story at wcwd.org/women-in-wastewater
Updated District Goals Set Stage for Success
Long-term planning ensures we can continue to meet the needs of our community for decades to come. The WCW leadership team gave an update to the Board of Directors on the agency’s Strategic Plan, which was developed in 2021 to provide a framework for ongoing success over five years.
 
The Strategic Plan was designed to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of WCW as an organization and identify next steps for the agency. Following the update to the Board, WCW reviewed the plan’s goals and objectives and added specific milestones for 2023. The Board is set to receive updates on the plan and actions achieved within each department annually. 

You can read the WCW Strategic Plan at wcwd.org/about-us/plans-documents.
WCW in the Community
At WCW, we understand the importance of being an active member of the community we serve! Public education is key to keeping our wastewater system functioning properly, and WCW was excited to ramp up its community engagement over the summer and fall.

Local events give our staff an opportunity to meet with neighbors and customers to talk about the important work we do, provide project updates, answer questions, and teach residents how to fight pollution and keep their laterals and sewer mains free from clogs. Here’s a sampling of just a few of the events have attended. We hope to see you for a round of our famous corn hole game soon! 

Embracing the future by planning today...
West County Wastewater, founded in 1921, protects public health and the environment by safely and
responsibly collecting and treating wastewater – keeping our community safe, while helping to make our planet better for future generations.

Board Members
Cheryl Sudduth
President

David Alvarado
Vice President
Annie M. King-Meredith
Director

Arto Rinteela
Director
Harry Wiener
Director


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