News | September 7, 2021

Orange County Water District's PFAS Pilot Project Receives Prestigious Award From California Municipal Utilities Association

The Orange County Water District (OCWD; the District) has been named a California Municipal Utilities Association (CMUA) 2021 Resource Efficiency & Community Service Award winner, receiving first place in the small-size utility water program category for launching the nation’s largest per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) pilot testing program.

OCWD is one of nine electric utilities and water agencies recognized by CMUA for outstanding projects advancing best practices and innovative ideas in the water and power industry.

“It is an honor to receive this award on behalf of our District’s amazing employees who demonstrated ingenuity and determination,” said OCWD President Steve Sheldon. “With laser focus and lighting speed our team created innovative solutions addressing the PFAS problem. We thank our colleagues at CMUA for this prestigious award. OCWD remains steadfast in sharing our research results and best practices for mankind’s betterment.”

In December 2019, OCWD accelerated efforts to address PFAS, launching the nation’s largest pilot project to test 14 different types of treatment media, including granular activated carbon, ion exchange, and novel alternative adsorbents, with the goal of identifying reliable and cost-effective solutions to remove PFAS from water. Now in its second phase, the project is testing additional adsorbents just emerging into the marketplace.

OCWD, cities and retail water agencies in Orange County take seriously the duty to provide reliable high-quality drinking water to residents throughout Orange County and will continue to meet and exceed all state and federal drinking water standards and regulations. OCWD and 10 of Orange County’s public water agencies have filed a lawsuit to ensure PFAS costs are borne by the companies that developed and manufactured PFAS and PFAS-containing products, thereby profiting from their widespread use and inevitable release to the environment, and not by ratepayers.

To learn more about how OCWD is addressing PFAS in Orange County, visit the District’s website.

About Orange County Water District
The Orange County Water District is committed to enhancing Orange County’s groundwater quality and reliability in an environmentally friendly and economical manner. The following cities rely on the groundwater basin, managed by OCWD, to provide 77% of their water demands: Anaheim, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Cypress, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Newport Beach, Orange, Placentia, Santa Ana, Seal Beach, Stanton, Tustin, Villa Park, Westminster, and Yorba Linda. For more information, visit

About CMUA
The California Municipal Utilities Association (CMUA) represents 75 publicly owned electric utilities and water agencies statewide. Together, CMUA members provide water service to more than 70 percent of Californians and electric service to 25 percent of the state. For more information, visit

Source: The Orange County Water District