Chino Basin Desalter Authority Announces New General Manager/CEO Thomas O’Neill

By on April 28, 2019

Water industry veteran Thomas O’Neill was unanimously approved by the Board of Directors of the Chino Basin Desalter Authority (CDA) at their March 7 board meeting as the organization’s new General Manager/CEO. O’Neill began his new position on April 15.

O’Neill already has a long history with CDA. He has served as CDA’s Interim General Manager since November 2018. His tenure with CDA for the past 18 years has included serving as the CDA’s first Coordinator from 2001-2005, as the Co-Project Manager for the construction of the Chino I Desalter Expansion & Chino II Desalter, represented the City of Ontario for the Chino Desalter Phase III Expansion Program and as a Technical Advisory Committee Member since 2007.

O’Neill’s early career included serving with Jurupa Community Services District from 1986-2005 overseeing the water, sewer and engineering programs. Most recently he was employed by the city of Ontario rom 2005-2019, most recently as the Utilities Operations Director overseeing the city’s water, sewer and environmental programs.

“The Chino Desalter Authority Board and I are delighted that Mr. O’Neill will be leading the membership through the transition from expansion and construction into our future of increased drinking water production and deliveries,” stated Robert Stockton, board chair of the CDA. “Tom brings with him a wealth of operational knowledge and managerial experience gained here within the Chino Basin. Equally important, his ability to inspire collaboration among the members of the authority will effect both the CDA and the communities we serve for generations to come.”

The Chino Desalter facilities are owned and operated by the Chino Basin Desalter Authority (CDA), a joint powers authority composed of CDA member agencies including the cities of Chino, Chino Hills, Ontario and Norco as well as the Inland Empire Utilities Agency, Jurupa Community Services District, Santa Ana River Water Company, and Western Municipal Water District.

The Chino I Desalter (Chino I) began operation in 2000 as the first phase of a groundwater management project designed to help maintain hydraulic control of the Chino Groundwater Basin, to preserve or increase the yield of the Basin, to remove contaminants from the groundwater, and to provide a reliable drinking water supply. Chino I was followed by Chino II in 2006 to expand the capacity of the groundwater treatment system. Treatment technologies used at Chino I and Chino II include reverse osmosis (RO), ion-exchange (IX) and volatile organic compound (VOC) air stripping. Construction of these facilities constituted the Chino Desalter Phase 1 and Phase 2 projects. The recent Phase 3 Expansion Project is a unique project that increased the capacity of the Chino II Desalter by 10.5 million gallons per day through a concentrate reduction facility used to retreat brine disposal waste to recapture a higher percentage of potable water.

Regarding his new position with CDA O’Neill says, “The CDA is not a typical water wholesaler. Its unique multi-faceted treatment facilities share a primary goal to desalinate brackish groundwater in response to the Optimum Basin Management Program while providing a sustainable water supply to its members. I am looking forward to working closely with the CDA Board of Directors and staff to resolve the dynamic challenges this region faces.”