The Vallecitos Water District received three awards from the California Water Environment Association on January 29. The Meadowlark Water Reclamation Facility was named the 2021 Tertiary Recycled Water Plant of the Year, Matt Wiese received the “Operator of the Year” award and the District also received the Community Engagement and Outreach award for Best Use of Social Media.
Recycled Water Plant of the Year
The Meadowlark Water Reclamation Facility was named the 2021 Tertiary Recycled Water Plant of the Year. This award recognizes accomplishments in compliance, innovative practices, cost-effectiveness, and superior plant performance. It is the first year for this new award.
Vallecitos Water District owns and operates the Meadowlark Water Reclamation Facility, or MRF, in the City of Carlsbad. Through secondary and tertiary treatment at Meadowlark, VWD acts as a wholesale supplier of reclaimed water to the City of Carlsbad and the Olivenhain Municipal Water District.
MRF is undertaking multiple projects to increase efficiencies and implement higher recycled water standards for the district’s two major customers. Additional projects include the planned installation of a Tesla Megapack Battery Energy Storage System as part of the district’s energy resiliency grant program.
See video of the 2021 Plant of the Year
Best Use of Social Media
The district won recognition for Community Engagement and Outreach for Best Use of Social Media, promoting awareness and understanding of water quality issues through social media campaigns.
Starting in 2019, VWD began using video to document the district’s workforce and infrastructure improvements on its social media platforms. The “Work We Do” series gives the public an opportunity to see crews providing the community with reliable drinking water and wastewater services, protecting the environment, and developing its skilled workforce.
The District also partnered with the Center for Water Studies at Cuyamaca College, which uses the “Work We Do” series to educate students on careers in the water and wastewater industry.
“Work We Do”
Matt Wiese Named Operator of the Year
Matt Wiese received the “Operator of the Year” award for outstanding contributions to the operations of wastewater treatment facilities and the application of knowledge to improve plant processes.
As Senior Wastewater Treatment Plant Supervisor at the Meadowlark Water Reclamation Facility, Wiese shares a wealth of instrumentation knowledge with Meadowlark staff. He mentors staff on proper procedures to troubleshoot, repair, and perform preventative maintenance on instrumentation, resulting in minimal downtime and emergency repairs.
Wiese also ensures training is up to date and completed, including hazardous materials training and drills in conjunction with North County Regional Fire Department Training. His role in organizing and conducting the training has won statewide recognition for the Vallecitos Water District.
See more of Matt Wiese’s accomplishments in this video
“This is not the first award for the Meadowlark Water Reclamation Facility, and I am sure it will not be the last,” said Ed Pedrazzi, operations and maintenance manager for the Vallecitos Water District. “Outstanding professionals like Matt Wiese are why the treatment plant operates at peak efficiency every day. You will not find a more dedicated group of individuals protecting the environment and the public health than the team at Meadowlark.”
Wiese was recently promoted to the supervisor position at MRF due to the retirement of Dawn McDougle.
“I was happy to promote him to supervisor of the plant. He has earned it!” said Pedrazzi.
There are more than 20 CWEA award categories. Each one honors exceptional CWEA members and California wastewater professionals, facilities, and agencies. The program seeks to recognize outstanding achievements within the wastewater field, improve the professional status of all personnel working in the wastewater industry and related fields and stimulate public awareness of the importance of wastewater treatment to public health and the water environment.
(Editor’s note: The Vallecitos Water District, Olivenhain Municipal Water District, and Carlsbad MWD, are three of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)