SWMOA names Outstanding Large Plant Operator of the Year

Nov. 23, 2023
Derrick Mansell, operations manager for the Orange County Water District’s Groundwater Replenishment System, was recognized for his role in advancing operations of the GWRS for more than 15 years.

The operations manager for the Orange County Water District’s (OCWD’s) Groundwater Replenishment System, Derrick Mansell, has been named Outstanding Large Plant Operator of the Year by the Southwest Membrane Operator Association.

“Derrick’s unwavering commitment, leadership, and exceptional skills as an operator have made a significant difference in our operations,” said OCWD Executive Director of Operations Mehul Patel. “This award is not only a recognition of Derrick’s professional excellence but that of our entire water production staff and also a reflection of OCWD's leadership and innovation in the water industry.”

According to OCWRD, for more than 15 years, Derrick has played a pivotal role in advancing operations of the GWRS. His expertise in membrane technology has helped to maintain high water quality standards and ensure compliance with all state and federal regulations.

“Congratulations to Derrick for this truly deserving honor and thank you to SWMOA for recognizing the efforts of both Derrick and the GWRS in advancing water reuse,” added Cathy Green, OCWD board president. “Awards like these reinforce the District’s role in developing sustainable and technologically advanced water solutions.”

The Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS), also named the 2023 Large Plant of the Year by SWMOA, is the world’s largest water recycling facility. It takes highly treated wastewater that would have previously been discharged into the Pacific Ocean and purifies it using a three-step advanced treatment process consisting of microfiltration, reverse osmosis, and ultraviolet light with hydrogen peroxide.

In early 2023, the facility completed a significant expansion that increased water production to 130 million gallons of high-quality water a day, enough to serve nearly one million people. This expansion also recycles 100% of OC San’s reclaimable wastewater flows, maximizing water reuse in the region.