Encinitas Advocate News

4S Ranch Water Reclamation Facility recognized for safety

Olivenhain Municipal Water District's 4S Ranch Water Reclamation Facility received the “Safety Small Plant of the Year” award from the San Diego section of the California Water Environment Association on Jan. 27 during the section’s annual awards ceremony.

CWEA’s award program serves to recognize professional achievements within the wastewater industry and stimulate public awareness of the importance of wastewater treatment to public health and the environment. To date, OMWD employees have worked 4,283 days without a preventable lost-time incident, setting an unmatched industry safety record acknowledged by CWEA. Plant operators are committed to safety and attend monthly safety training sessions, ensure all safety protocols are followed, and utilize appropriate personal protective equipment.

“Our board is very proud of OMWD's exemplary safety record of over 11 years without a preventable lost-time accident,” said OMWD Board Director and Safety Committee member Bob Topolovac. “This commitment to safety not only minimizes workers compensation costs for our ratepayers, but it helps our employees return home to their families safely.”

OMWD’s workers' compensation experience rating is 0.82, well below the industry standard of 0.97, which translates to paying only 82 percent of what a typical premium would be for an agency like OMWD, saving ratepayers approximately $50,000 annually. California's rating system is merit based and is intended to provide employers a direct financial incentive to reduce work-related accidents that OMWD has capitalized on by developing a district-wide safety culture.

In addition to being recognized for safety programs at 4S WRF, OMWD’s Pump Motor Technician Dominic “Bruno” Brunozzi has been named “Mechanical Technician of the Year” for the second time in three years. Brunozzi is a team leader who is not only dedicated to his duties as a Pump/Motor Technician II, but also trains operators on equipment and facility safety. He personally developed safety training for all employees that includes specific measures to protect employees at work and at home. The 4S WRF will now be considered along with each of CWEA’s 16 other regional honorees for statewide “Safety Plant of the Year” recognition. Brunozzi will also compete for state recognition as “Mechanical Technician of the Year.”

OMWD’s 4S WRF can produce up to two million gallons of high-quality recycled water each day. This alternative water supply is used for irrigation purposes at schools, parks, golf courses, streetscapes, and homeowner association common areas in the southeastern portion of OMWD's service area.

Founded in 1927, the California Water Environment Association 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. --Submitted press release

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