Fullerton Water District

Status of Orange County Groundwater Basin

Mike Markus, General Manager, of Orange County Water District (OCWD), had some good news – “The groundwater basin is in pretty good shape at about half full. This is because recycled water from the Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) is used to recharge the basin with highly treated wastewater and we capture stormwater.

Currently about 30% (100 million gallons per day) of OCWD production comes from the GWRS and an additional 30 million gallons per day will be added in December of this year with the new expansion of the plant located in Fountain Valley,” he said. OCWD is also working on increasing storage level of Prado Dam. Answering a question about the PFAS problem affecting 37 wells countywide and whether the new regulatory levels would require more to be shut down, Markus said that OCWD is adhering to the new Regulatory Level (RL).

“If wells exceed the RL level, they are taken out,” he said. OCWD provides treatment for any well that reaches 80% of the RL. The treatment plant in Fullerton Kimberly 1 opened over a year ago. More treatment plants are in construction.”

Resident Jane Reifer asked, “Could we find out if oil fracking chemicals are part of the problem, as has been stated on environmental group sites?”

Markus said he didn’t know about that, “PFAS appear to be from using the chemicals in manufacturing.” (See Physicians for Social Responsibility report link here) Another resident asked how the treatment plants are funded. “OCWD is paying for 100% of the plant design and construction and the city is contributing half of the operations and maintenance funding. We are suing manufacturers of PFAS, Dupont, and 3M.

The city is a co-defendant,” Markus said. A successful outcome would force the companies that developed and manufactured PFAS to pay for the clean-up, taking the burden off taxpayers and ratepayers. Committee member Tutor asked what type of treatment Fullerton uses to get rid of PFAS, what the difference is between treatments, and how many other cities are affected. Markus said OCWD will be providing treatment to 59 wells (20 of which are completed with the rest set to go online by end of 2023) in 11 water agencies.

Fullerton decided on the Granulated Activated Carbon (GAC) treatment. All the other cities chose the reverse ion model. Both are similar in cost according to Markus, but GAC also removes VOCs. Cities affected besides Fullerton and Anaheim include Seranno, Garden Grove, Orange, Santa Ana, Tustin, and Yorba Linda, which had to shut down all 10 of its wells.

9 replies »

  1. Zenger – you are right there were three articles – I just did a search for anything with OCWD in the title and found them. Thought we took the byline off after the first one. The information is solid but I am sure someone at OCWD wrote them not Zahra who just passed them to the paper. The editor at the time was still in learning mode and should not have let that happen. I, as past editor was not doing a good job of oversight and should have caught that faster. But, the facts presented are correct and very serious issues for our town and really the whole county. So I am hoping you won’t dismiss the subject matter due to the faulty byline.

    • The “subject matter” isn’t the issue I’m talking about, of course. I’m talking about the “byline” that Zahra knew was false. Even if the first one was a mistake he did nothing to correct the plagiarism of the first one that should have been followed by an apology if it was even a mistake – which I’m sure it wasn’t.

      Blaming the (conveniently gone) editor is a cheap way to avoid delivering this package at the right doorstep.

      Zahra is great at getting his picture taken at every event he can squeeze into, which suggest more interest in self-promoting his “brand” than in doing any real work.

      • Not blaming former editor – he was green and I – as his mentor – was not paying attention.

    • I think Zahra did write these when he was on the water board. It is now just typed up straight from the meeting. Glad you remember that. I will let Zahra know that he is missed as a writer. Thank you for being an Observer.

      • Apparently you haven’t been paying any attention at all. Do try to keep up. Zahra plagiarized crap written by OCWD PR bureaucrats and put his name over it. Where? In the Fullerton Observer, of course. Jan Flory used those articles as proof of Zahra’s “expertise” – the alleged expertise that was making him $4000 a month to attend a few meetings. Since Zahra wasn’t the writer, he can’t be missed.

        • Zahra wanted to be on the water board because at the time the pollutant plume was dipping under his district 5 and he wanted to make sure it was paid attention to. All water board reps are paid for participating in meetings. I agree it was a poor choice by the paper’s editor at that time to give him a byline when he was merely passing on the official OCWD information to the paper – hardly his fault. Councilmember Jan Flory was pointing out that our previous rep on the board had not been updating the public on what was happening and thanked Zahra for doing that.

          • Yeah, the guy’s a real saint, all right. I don’t believe you.

            I believe he deliberately wanted his name attached his name to articles he didn’t write since it happened THREE TIMES in the course of six months, so if an error was made, Zahra didn’t bother to fix it, did he?. Flory specifically used those “articles” to promote Zahra as some sort of expert so he cold keep his job and much-needed income – just going to footling meetings.