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Public Works crews earns top honors

Mike Conway

Post Date:05/19/2016

City's wastewater system wins top state honor


The City of Merced's wastewater collection system has won the medium size collection system of the year for the state of California from the California Water Environment Association (CWEA).


The mission of the CWEA collection system of the year award is to identify and recognize the municipality that protects the public health and the natural beauty of the environment through pro-active practices of management, operations and maintenance.


The City competed against 62 other medium sized collection systems statewide. This is the first year the City has entered the competition.


Officials of the CWEA will make an award presentation to the City's wastewater collection team during the May 16 City Council meeting.


Recipients of the award have demonstrated that the team performs quality collection system maintenance procedures through the efficient use of labor, materials, equipment, and innovative methods to keep its collection system in good working condition to minimize the health hazards and property damage that occur due to sanitary sewer overflows during both wet weather and dry weather conditions.


The award honors the collection system personnel that serve their community with a high level of professionalism and diligent work in the operation and maintenance of their wastewater collection system facilities. The recipient's staff make the most of their available resources, no matter how great or small.


Merced's collection system was initially recognized as the Northern San Joaquin Section winner. And, as one of 17 section winners throughout the state, it became eligible for the state award. Merced was subsequently recognized as one of 3 state finalists. After a site visit by a panel of five judges to each of the three finalists, Merced was selected as the overall state winner.


During the site visit, the entire collection division's personnel participated in presenting information to the judging panel that demonstrated and supported information provided by each finalist in their application.


The wastewater collection systems are categorized based on the size of their collection system.

  • Large sized collection systems (greater than 501 miles of collection system).

  • Medium sized collection systems (greater than 250 miles and up to 500 miles of collection system). * Merced has 253 miles of collection system.

  • Small sized collection system (249 miles of collection system and smaller).


The selection of the collection system of the year was based on criteria identified in the 'Collection System of the Year Evaluation Form' which consisted of seven major elements. The seven major elements were:


(1) Regulatory Compliance - the city demonstrated a thorough understanding of regulatory compliance and fully implements effective, documented strategies to assure continuous compliance;

(2) Administrative Procedures ' written procedures and standard operating procedures are in use. Mapping system is in use, and all maintenance activities are documented and utilized for trending future maintenance and rehabilitation needs;

(3) Maintenance Program ' city uses predictive and preventive maintenance programs in addition to closed circuit television inspections;

(4) Safety Program ' city has an Injury Illness Prevention Program, respiratory protection, confined space entry, and traffic control programs. All equipment has current documentation ';

(5) Training Program ' the training program is job specific to collections personnel and incorporates on the job training as well as technical instructions;

(6) Emergency Procedures ' the city has an updated Sanitary Sewer Overflow Emergency Response Plan, and participates in County and State wide emergency exercises, and;

(7) Significant Accomplishments ' examples include the removal and/or replacement of approximately three miles of tar-lined corrugated steel sewer main line pipe. The tar lined pipe was severely corroded and pieces of tar were peeling off and reaching the city's wastewater treatment plant causing significant maintenance issues at the plant headworks. In addition, the sewer mains crossing under both Bear Creek and Black Rascal Creek were relined in order to protect both waterways.

Also significant is the fact that the city only experienced 0.39 reportable sanitary sewer overflows per 100 miles of city sewer pipeline for 2015 where a rate of 2 sanitary sewer overflows per 100 miles is considered outstanding.



The City of Merced's wastewater collection system has won the medium size collection system of the year for the state of California from the California Water Environment Association (CWEA).


The mission of the CWEA collection system of the year award is to identify and recognize the municipality that protects the public health and the natural beauty of the environment through pro-active practices of management, operations and maintenance.


The City competed against 62 other medium sized collection systems statewide. This is the first year the City has entered the competition.


Officials of the CWEA will make an award presentation to the City's wastewater collection team during the May 16 City Council meeting.


Recipients of the award have demonstrated that the team performs quality collection system maintenance procedures through the efficient use of labor, materials, equipment, and innovative methods to keep its collection system in good working condition to minimize the health hazards and property damage that occur due to sanitary sewer overflows during both wet weather and dry weather conditions.


The award honors the collection system personnel that serve their community with a high level of professionalism and diligent work in the operation and maintenance of their wastewater collection system facilities. The recipient's staff make the most of their available resources, no matter how great or small.


Merced's collection system was initially recognized as the Northern San Joaquin Section winner. And, as one of 17 section winners throughout the state, it became eligible for the state award. Merced was subsequently recognized as one of 3 state finalists. After a site visit by a panel of five judges to each of the three finalists, Merced was selected as the overall state winner.


During the site visit, the entire collection division's personnel participated in presenting information to the judging panel that demonstrated and supported information provided by each finalist in their application.


The wastewater collection systems are categorized based on the size of their collection system.

  • Large sized collection systems (greater than 501 miles of collection system).

  • Medium sized collection systems (greater than 250 miles and up to 500 miles of collection system). * Merced has 253 miles of collection system.

  • Small sized collection system (249 miles of collection system and smaller).


The selection of the collection system of the year was based on criteria identified in the 'Collection System of the Year Evaluation Form' which consisted of seven major elements. The seven major elements were:


(1) Regulatory Compliance - the city demonstrated a thorough understanding of regulatory compliance and fully implements effective, documented strategies to assure continuous compliance;

(2) Administrative Procedures ' written procedures and standard operating procedures are in use. Mapping system is in use, and all maintenance activities are documented and utilized for trending future maintenance and rehabilitation needs;

(3) Maintenance Program ' city uses predictive and preventive maintenance programs in addition to closed circuit television inspections;

(4) Safety Program ' city has an Injury Illness Prevention Program, respiratory protection, confined space entry, and traffic control programs. All equipment has current documentation ';

(5) Training Program ' the training program is job specific to collections personnel and incorporates on the job training as well as technical instructions;

(6) Emergency Procedures ' the city has an updated Sanitary Sewer Overflow Emergency Response Plan, and participates in County and State wide emergency exercises, and;

(7) Significant Accomplishments ' examples include the removal and/or replacement of approximately three miles of tar-lined corrugated steel sewer main line pipe. The tar lined pipe was severely corroded and pieces of tar were peeling off and reaching the city's wastewater treatment plant causing significant maintenance issues at the plant headworks. In addition, the sewer mains crossing under both Bear Creek and Black Rascal Creek were relined in order to protect both waterways.

Also significant is the fact that the city only experienced 0.39 reportable sanitary sewer overflows per 100 miles of city sewer pipeline for 2015 where a rate of 2 sanitary sewer overflows per 100 miles is considered outstanding.

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