OCWD Board of Directors

Cathy Green
First Vice President
Denis R. Bilodeau, P.E.
Second Vice President
Philip L. Anthony
Jordan Brandman
Shawn Dewane
Jan M. Flory, ESQ.
Dina L. Nguyen, ESQ.
Roman Reyna
Stephen R. Sheldon
Roger C. Yoh, P.E.
General Manager
Michael R. Markus
P.E., D.WRE.

Bill Dunivin...In His Own Words
Bill Dunivin (right) receiving his 40-Year Service Award from OCWD General Manager Mike Markus
William (Bill) R. Dunivin is a pioneer in the field of water reclamation and has dedicated his professional career, spanning 40 years, to advancing the field of water reuse and serving the public as an employee of the Orange County Water District. During his four decades of service, Bill has had direct involvement and oversight in the planning, operation and maintenance of the District's world-renowned recycling facilities.

As Director of Water Production, a position he has occupied for 25 years, Bill has provided exceptional leadership by implementing significant improvements to the operation and maintenance of two globally-celebrated projects, Water Factory 21 (WF 21) and the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS). Bill is also responsible for helping to bring the Green Acres Project (GAP)—reclaimed water for landscape irrigation—into operation.

Bill's experience with WF 21, the GWRS forerunner, was invaluable in the planning and design of this revolutionary water reuse project. Bill's dedicated work has led to modifications that have enhanced GWRS' performance. His willingness to share his knowledge of issues and successes has benefited the membrane industry tremendously. This success has also led to the current expansion effort of the GWRS that will increase production from 70 million gallons per day to 100 million gallons per day by late spring. And, one day in the future, that number will increase to 130 million gallons per day with its final expansion.

His professional achievements include the 2012 WateReuse Association, California Section, Recycled Water Staff Person of the Year award for his significant contributions to the success of water reuse and water resource management efforts in Southern California; the 1996 Santa Ana River Basin Section Research Achievement Award; and the 1992 NWSIA Robert O Vernon Award in recognition of contributions for work in a desalting and water-reuse facility.

Bill is the OCWD employee with the longest stretch of service in its history. We were curious about Bill, the changes that have taken place at OCWD over the years and Bill's observations.

Q: What brought you to OCWD?

I was working at a wastewater treatment plant in Hemet, California and, in early 1974, decided that I wanted to move to Orange County. I applied at the Orange County Water District, Orange County Sanitation District and Irvine Ranch Water District. I was very lucky and received offers from all three agencies. I chose OCWD because I was very interested in Water Factory 21, which was under construction, and OCWD was participating in a joint project with the Office of Saline Water to build a multi-stage flash-distillation seawater treatment facility. I wanted to be involved in the final construction and operations of the innovative treatment technologies being used. I was very disappointed when the sea distillation plant program was shutdown by the federal government. However, the shutdown helped move the District into research and pilot work in other treatment technologies. The ongoing research helped OCWD become one of the most recognized groundwater management agencies and one of the most advanced water recycling projects in the world. The Groundwater Replenishment System exemplifies the hard work of many people over the years.

Q: What puts a smile on your face and keeps you coming back to OCWD after all these years?

Looking back on my career, it has been rewarding to realize that the OCWD Board of Directors and management have put their trust and confidence in me and have allowed me to help lead the efforts to operate and maintain our reclamation facilities. OCWD's long-standing commitment to research and development in advance water reclamation has always kept my interest. As I tell friends outside of OCWD, I have enjoyed coming to work not only because the job is interesting but I get to work with some very smart, talented and dedicated people. Any of my achievements have been made possible by the support everyone at OCWD has given me.

Q: Your time with OCWD parallels the history of water recycling in Orange County and the world. What have been the biggest changes (milestones) to that industry?

In many cases the biggest challenge has been that OCWD was always on the leading edge and we had to learn as we went. I remember when we first started looking at pilot work to demineralizing part of the WF 21 treatment process after the seawater distillation project was shutdown. The reverse osmosis (RO) pilot work that we were doing was promising but we realized there were many challenges ahead. OCWD's Board of Director's and staff evaluated the risks and decided the future benefits were worth taking on. The improvements in membrane technologies since 1976 have been significant. OCWD's ability to successfully apply these technologies has ultimately changed the future of water reclamation and reuse worldwide.

Q: You have a reputation for solving difficult technical issues while fostering an environment of collaboration. Can you tell us about a challenging example and how it was overcome?

Since OCWD was often on the leading edge of technology, we had to use our in-house ingenuity to solve problems. When it was determined that ultraviolet (UV) would be required to treat NDMA, a harmful byproduct of drinking water treatment, and that we needed to build a UV treatment system to keep WF 21 operational, we had a major hurdle. Before the UV could be installed, we were faced with securing WF 21. We knew that sunlight could help remove NDMA to an acceptable level and the longer time of sunlight was coming with summer approaching. We had some very large concrete basins left over from the demolition of our old ammonia stripping towers. Staff proceeded to install temporary flow diversions within the basins that allowed a long detention time and we were able to keep WF 21 in operation until the UV treatment process was operational.

Q: You have shared your knowledge and experience about water reuse through speaking engagements, conference participation, contributions to white papers and providing data for research studies. Why do you feel it is important to do this?

A rewarding part of working at OCWD is how we share our technical expertise. Sharing our technical expertise not only helps public utilities, but brings interest in what OCWD does from developers of water treatment technology. This helps OCWD stay on the leading edge and helps maintain cost and water quality to our customers in Orange County.

Q: What advice would you give to someone entering the industry who aspires to become Director of Water Production for OCWD one day?

I would recommend getting a degree in science or engineering and having a love for work that's never boring or slow because of the ongoing 24/7 operations of a treatment facility. Because the science of water recycling is evolving, you will have to stay on top of the latest industry trends and you may be asked to be the trendsetter.