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February 19, 2013 > Union Sanitary District employees win regional awards

Union Sanitary District employees win regional awards

Submitted By Michelle Powell,, Photo By: Shawn Nesgis, USD

Union Sanitary District is pleased to announce that two employees recently received awards from the San Francisco Bay Section of the California Water Environment Association (CWEA). Collections System Worker II Jose Rodrigues won the "Collection System Worker of the Year" award and operations Supervisor Larry Simmers received the "Al Ditman Professional Development Award," a special award honoring his contributions to professional development of CWEA Bay Section members.

CWEA is the California industry association for wastewater professionals, with about 9,000 members statewide and over 1,600 in the San Francisco Bay section, which includes Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Francisco counties, plus a portion of San Mateo County. Jose's regional award automatically enters him in CWEA's statewide competition. Statewide awards will be announced in April.

Jose and his fellow Collection Services Workers clean, inspect and repair the District's sewer lines daily to help ensure continuous, uninterrupted service to customers. They also construct new connections to the sewer system, mark utilities for digging, and respond to customer trouble calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Jose's accomplishments include helping to develop and construct a hands-on technical training station at the District's Alvarado Treatment Plant in Union City, and presenting technical training to USD employees and outside agencies. He has also presented workshops at CWEA conferences and other industry events.

"Protecting human health and providing professional service to our customers is an important job," says Jose, who joined the District in 2003. "I enjoy thinking of new ways to complete tasks safely and more efficiently, and sharing knowledge with my colleagues at USD and other agencies."

Larry Simmers supervises USD's dayshift team of state-certified operators. He is the S.F. Bay Section's Math, Operations and Maintenance seminar chairperson on the Professional Development Committee. Simmers recognized a need for newer operators to receive journey-level wastewater treatment process training and has successfully coordinated continuing education seminars to further their knowledge.

"I wanted to give back to an industry that has been very fulfilling to me," Larry explains. "The District encourages employees to continually look for ways to learn and improve, and that has motivated me to share my interest in the science of wastewater treatment with those who are newer to the field." Larry volunteers at CWEA conferences and seminars, and he has taught introductory water/wastewater math classes. He worked with the Bay Area Clean Water Association and the Tri-Valley Regional Occupation Program to create USD's Volunteer Operator-in-Training program.

Union Sanitary District operates a 30 million gallon per day wastewater treatment facility in Union City and provides collection, treatment and disposal services to Fremont, Newark, and Union City, CA, including maintaining over 750 miles of underground pipelines.

For more information about Union Sanitary District, visit

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