Big Bear Area Regional Wastewater Agency (BBARWA) has been selected as the California Water Environment Association’s (CWEA) recipient of the 2015 Plant of the Year for facilities with a rate flow of less than five million gallons per day (MGD). MGD equates to a water flow rate of measurement for one million gallons equal to 1.547 cubic feet per second, 694 gallons per minute or 3.07 acre-feet per day.
BBARWA will be formally recognized by CWEA at their annual conference, to be held at the Santa Clara Convention Center, on both April 28 at the Leadership Development Committee Breakfast and again at the CWEA Awards Luncheon on April 29. The conference runs from April 26-29.
Steven Schindler, general manager of the Big Bear agency, spoke proudly when saying, “The agency is fortunate to have quality and dedicated staff, along with the governing board who provides the direction and guidance of the agency.”
Criteria for CWEA’s Plant of the Year includes a substantial review of the agency. They conduct an on-site inspection of all nominated facilities and can conduct interviews with any member of the staff. CWEA reviews maintenance and lab records as well as the water flows into the agency and whether the agency is adhering to discharge orders.
Schindler shared that the state association also verifies that staff are certified or licensed by the state based on their job requirements and how employees participate within the agency. They review the agency’s operations and the number of employees within the agency versus similar-sized water entities.
BBARWA’s Schindler also said a big criterion for CWEA is whether the agency is within its budgetary guidelines and the status of the agency’s safety records. Schindler noted, with pride, “We’ve not had a loss time accident in over 10 years. We have a great safety record!”
“It’s a tough process to go through,” said Schindler, referring to CWEA’s inspection and review of the agency’s nomination. “I’m proud of our people.”
BBARWA was also recognized earlier this year when they received a Certificate for Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) of the United States and Canada for its comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR). Also recognized was Jennifer McCullar, finance manager at BBARWA, when she was presented with an Award of Financial Reporting Achievement as the individual primarily responsible for preparing the award-winning CAFR.
The Big Bear agency was founded in 1974. They provide centralized, environmentally friendly wastewater conveyance, treatment and disposal for the Big Bear Valley (79,000 acres) including the communities of Big Bear Lake and Big Bear City as well as San Bernardino County service area 53 B. They are served by three separate collection systems.