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Olivenhain Municipal Water District's Pump/Motor Technician Dominic "Bruno" Brunozzi has been named the California Water Environment Association's (CWEA) "Mechanical Technician of the Year: for the third time. Photo: Water Authority Dominic Brunozzi

Olivenhain Employee Dominic Brunozzi is Mechanical Technician of the Year

For the third time in five years, Olivenhain Municipal Water District’s Pump/Motor Technician Dominic “Bruno” Brunozzi has been named the California Water Environment Association’s “Mechanical Technician of the Year.”

Brunozzi was recognized for his dedication to public service and mechanical expertise. He also received the same designation at the local level earlier this year from CWEA’s San Diego Section.

“We are thrilled that Bruno has been recognized as Mechanical Technician of the Year for the third time in five years,” said OMWD Board Vice President Bob Topolovac. “He is not only committed to maintaining equipment essential to providing vital services for our ratepayers, he also sets an example for employees by training operators on the safe use of equipment.”

“I am honored to be recognized by my peers,” said Brunozzi. “It reinforces the view that the water industry is family and that hard work does not go unnoticed.”

Sharing safety knowledge key to Brunozzi’s success

Among Brunozzi’s key on-the-job responsibilities is training OMWD operators on safe equipment use.

“I approach each day with a sense of responsibility that everybody should return to their families safe and sound,”  he said. “If an employee is unfamiliar with the proper operation of a piece of equipment, they or someone else can be harmed.”

Brunozzi sees his approach to sharing knowledge and continuous learning as his secrets to professional success.

“Do your best and be honest about it. If you are unsure about something, stop and find someone who has more experience in the subject, then be sure to pass on your knowledge.

“Also, continue to learn. This can be accomplished in many ways; take a class at a local college, watch a video about your industry or perhaps cross train in a different department, you never know what the future may have in store for you.”

Military experience offers transferable career skills to water industry

Dominic Brunozzi credits a 21-year active duty career of service in the United States Navy for his attention to detail and ability to multitask. He retired in 2007 as a Chief Petty Officer. Photo: Water Authority

Dominic Brunozzi credits a 21-year active duty career of service in the United States Navy for his attention to detail and ability to multitask. He retired in 2007 as a Chief Petty Officer. Photo: San Diego County Water Authority

Dominic Brunozzi credits a 21-year active duty career of service in the United States Navy for his attention to detail and the ability to multitask. He retired in 2007 as a Chief Petty Officer.

“My rate (job description) was Engineman,” said Brunozzi. “I worked on auxiliary equipment onboard combatant vessels: pumps, motors, generators, air conditioners, sewage systems, water purification systems, and their supporting equipment. Navy vessels need to produce drinking water from the ocean, so they use a variety of processes such as distillation and reverse osmosis, then treat the water for human consumption.

“I cannot stress enough how the water industry is a good match for military members looking for a career after the military. The water industry is a close-knit family similar to the military. Their military training provides added skills to the water industry such as maturity, work ethic, and leadership,” he said.

In addition to Brunozzi’s award, OMWD received third-place recognition statewide and from the San Diego Section in the “Community Engagement & Outreach Program of the Year” category. Outreach efforts include engagement with legislators and regulatory officials, classroom visits, presentations to community groups, newsletters, social media posts, community events, and tours of OMWD’s 4S Ranch Water Reclamation Facility. OMWD serves approximately 14% of its overall demand from recycled water.

Founded in 1927, the CWEA is a not-for-profit association of 9,000-plus professionals in the wastewater industry. The association trains and certifies wastewater professionals disseminates technical information, and promotes sound policies to benefit society through protection and enhancement of the water environment.

Military Bases With Possible PFAS Water Contamination Rise. Is Yours on the List?

The number of known military sites where cancer-linked firefighting foam may have contaminated groundwater across the United States has jumped to 651 from 401, and the cleanup bill will likely cost billions of dollars more than initially estimated, according to a new Pentagon report.

The new report was directed by Defense Secretary Mark Esper as part of his focus on PFAS contamination and lists hundreds of additional locations, many of them Army National Guard sites, in all 50 states where area groundwater may have been contaminated by the chemical compound.

Military Sees Surge in Sites With ‘Forever Chemical’ Contamination

The military now has at least 651 sites that have been contaminated with cancer-linked “forever chemicals,” a more than 50 percent jump from its last tally.

The information was released Friday in a report from the Department of Defense (DOD), part of a task force designed to help the military remove a class of chemicals known as PFAS from the water supply near numerous military bases.

Fresh water aboard Midway was critical to building up enough fresh-water steam to accelerate this A-6E Intruder from 0 to approximately 150 miles per hour in only three seconds. Photo: USS Midway Museum

USS Midway: A History of Sustainable Water Management

The USS Midway Museum, docked in San Diego, is the most popular naval warship museum in the United States and among the most visited museums in the country, with 1.4 million people annually coming aboard.

Those visitors discover the Midway made its own fresh water while at sea, from the first day it was commissioned in 1945 until it was taken out of active service in 1992. But when this venerable aircraft carrier found new life as the USS Midway Museum in 2004, its relationship with water entered a new era as well.

The USS Midway Museum served as host for the launch of the San Diego County Water Authority’s new education and outreach program: Brought to You by Water.

The program underscores the importance of water reliability for the region’s key industries such as tourism and the military — something the operators of the USS Midway Museum understand on multiple levels.

Supporting a floating city at sea with water supplies

Twelve massive boilers aboard Midway converted fresh water into steam, the lifeblood of any aircraft carrier. Those boilers required periodic scraping, a dirty job far below the water line. Photo: Courtesy USS Midway Museum

Twelve massive boilers aboard Midway converted fresh water into steam, the lifeblood of any aircraft carrier. Those boilers required periodic scraping, a dirty job far below the water line. Photo: Courtesy USS Midway Museum

When deployed at sea, sailors aboard the USS Midway produced 240,000 gallons of fresh water daily through 12 boilers to support the floating city of 4,500 men. From cooking pasta to feeding sailors, to propelling the catapult system launching aircraft off the flight deck, the Midway depended on a safe and reliable water supply to thrive, just as the San Diego region does today.

Two evaporator plants deep inside the ship took in seawater and produced fresh water via desalination. According to Scott McGaugh, Midway Director of Marketing, working in those “evap spaces” was among the toughest duty assignments aboard the Midway. When one of these plants went out of service, the Midway had to ration its water.

Even in the best of times at sea, sailors always lived with a limited water supply, and water conservation was standard operating procedure. Consider a “Navy shower” — getting wet for 30 seconds or less, shutting the water off, soaping up, and then a quick rinse. That was the lifestyle during deployment, including a stretch when the Midway set a deployment record for aircraft carriers — 327 consecutive days at sea.

Water conservation remains a priority

Four steam throttle boards such as this were the gas pedals aboard Midway. Sailors here in 1958 fed the proper amount of steam into the four turbines necessary for propulsion and a top reported speed of 30 knots per hour. That’s 34 miles an hour for the 65,000-ton aircraft carrier when active—fast enough to water ski behind Midway. Photo: Courtesy USS Midway Museum

Four steam throttle boards such as this were the gas pedals aboard Midway. Sailors here in 1958 fed the proper amount of steam into the four turbines necessary for propulsion and a top reported speed of 30 knots per hour. That’s 34 miles an hour for the 65,000-ton aircraft carrier when active—fast enough to water ski behind Midway. Photo: Courtesy USS Midway Museum

While the USS Midway Museum doesn’t have to generate its own fresh water anymore, the conservation mindset is still a part of its daily life. Chief Engineer Len Santiago for the Midway says it is a priority for his team of 64 engineers to be good stewards of water and the ship deploys modern technology such as waterless urinals and sensors on faucets.

The most critical issue for the USS Midway Museum is water leaks. The Water Authority encourages homeowners to monitor their plumbing for leaks. Now imagine monitoring hundreds of miles of pipes aboard a floating museum.

“My staff and I have to make sure first, no leaks,” said Santiago. His team checks all systems regularly. “We have hundreds of spaces where pipes run through. We check all sensors in our restrooms for guests are working properly. Problems like a running faucet are reported immediately.

“As we grow as a museum, our infrastructure will continue to grow,” said Santiago. “In the 21st century, we’ll continue to leverage technology. I expect to have sensors that will alert me to water on the deck somewhere that might indicate a leak – even in things like air conditioning.”