In Memoriam: December 2019 – January 2020

LADWP extends its condolences to the families and friends of current and former employees who have recently passed.  Visit the Water and Power Retired Employees’ Retirement Plan website to view and download monthly notices of retirees and active employees who have passed away.

As of December 2019

Arturo J. Aguilar, 94 Power Distribution and Construction
Duane L. Benson, 76 Supply Chain Services
John E. Blancett, 72 Corporate Services
Robert E. Brown, 80 Power Operation and Maintenance
Paul A. Bruns, 94 Water Engineering
James S. Burnh, 91 Power Distribution
Shirley A. Campbell, 69 Customer Service Division
Charles E. Carvin, 88 Aqueduct
David R. Childers, 77 Power  Distribution
George F. Cummings, 94 Power Operation and Maintenance
Gary M. Dobrenz, 73 Customer Service Division
Robert A. Emerson, 86 Power Distribution
David Esqueda, Sr., 86 Fleet Services
Renus Evans, 87 Facilities Management
Gary L. Hedges, 68 Fleet Services
Charles S. Hellman, 77 Bulk Power
Victor J. Hernandez, 89 Water Operating Division
Kenneth M. Houlette, 77 General Services Fleet
Edward E. Kato, 92 Power Distribution and Construction
Charlotte M. Katz, 94 Commercial Services
James E. Kennedy, 86 Power Distribution
Louis W. Kirkland, 72 Power Supply Operation
Rodney L. Madsen, 87 Water Operating
Jose A. Martinez, 94 Water Operating
Richard C. Nutting, 94 Power Operation and Maintenance
James E. Parker, 82 Power Distribution Division
Robert W. Pierce, 92 Power Operation and Maintenance
Marshall C. Rhynes, 83 Water Quality
Robert R. Riddle, 70 Substation Operations
Albert 0. Simon,78 Water Quality
Dorothy L. Stapp, 95 Aqueduct
Kevin D. Switzer, 56 Power Transmission and Distribution
L.G. Washington, 95 Water Operating
Robert L. Winkler, 83 General Services

As of January 2020

Robert T. Jones, 77 Supply Chain Services
Debra A. Mc Ghee, 61 Power Transmission and Distribution
Wanda J. Augustine, 71 Financial Services
Toney E. Bible, 69 Integrated Technology Services
Gary P. Brand, 70 Integrated Support Services
Cosme P. Carpio, 86 Power Distribution
Thomas E. Catero, 83 Power Operations and Maintenance
Walter W. Chun, 94 Power Design and Construction
Donna L. Elliott, 86 Customer Service Division
Harriet A. Ferree, 93 General Services
Ben E. Fong, 98 Integrated Technology Services
Carl R. Francen, 86 Power Design and Construction
Henry M. Gilbert, 85 General Services
Stewart L. Hunt, 88 Power Design and Construction
Kenneth D. Ivers, 83 Power Design and Construction
Dorothy R. Jensen, 88 Public Affairs
Charlotte Kemp, 89 Accounting
James M. Kirkland, 73 Integrated Support Services
Ana M. Madrigal, 89 City Attorney
Kenneth E. Melton, 86 Power Design and Construction
Melvin W. Minor, 65 Power Transmission and Distribution
Herbert L. Ott, 95 Power Operations and Maintenance
Richard A. Pederson, 91 Integrated Support Services
Richard D. Reynolds, 69 Water Quality
Robert N. Richardson, 79 Water Operating
Richard L. Wakeman, 87 Integrated Technology Services
Teruo Yamane, 88 Power Design and Construction
William E. Young, 83 Power Operations and Maintenance
Hong Y. Yu, 74 Retirement Office

Meet Luciana, Both of Them

Giant Tunnel Boring Machine, Named for Project Manager’s Daughter, Goes into Action to Construct Major Trunk Line for Reliability

By Michael Ventre

Luciana stands three-foot eight-inches tall and weighs 38 pounds. She has long brown hair, angelic grey eyes and is a little shy. She likes pancakes, coloring and “Frozen.” She is a native of Southern California.

The other Luciana stands 13 feet in diameter and weighs about 200 tons. She arrived from Germany in pieces, on 21 trucks. Boring is the word most often used to describe her, but in a good way.

If your task is to dig a tunnel of over two miles under the City of Burbank, you might be wise to enlist the latter, although given the lineage of the former, that Luciana might figure out a way to do it also.

Luciana is the four-year-old daughter of Johan Torroledo, a manager in the LADWP Project Management Office. Among other responsibilities, he oversees River Supply Conduit Upper Reach Unit 7 (RSC7), a major Water System infrastructure improvement project. The other Luciana is named after her, a giant Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM). According to a tradition in the mining industry that dates back to the 1500s, a TBM can’t begin work until it is officially named after a woman for good luck. The LADWP project team went with Luciana, because both are powerful and irresistible in their own way.

Through the RSC7 project, LADWP will install over 12,000 linear feet of 78-inch diameter welded steel trunk line pipe. The project began in December 2018 and is scheduled to be completed by April 2022. This particular tunneling phase is set to begin in Spring 2020 and is scheduled to finish in late 2021.

RSC7 team, from left: Alex Reyman, Construction Manager; Fidel Zabalza, Resident Engineer; Johan Torroledo; Luciana Torroledo; Stephanie Sweigart; Richard Harasick; Ali Sabouni, Construction Management & Support Contracts Manager. Photo by Art Mochizuki

Luciana the TBM is rarely seen by the public, but not because she’s bashful. It’s just her nature. After being lowered into a deep pit on the project site at Johnny Carson Park South – which is hidden by a large wooden fence – the TBM will disappear from view and will work in private, 63 feet below ground level, boring her way under the 134 Freeway and onward in a northwest direction to an end point at the intersection of Burbank and Biloxi. There it will join with RSC 5 & 6, which was completed in 2018. Eventually it will all connect with Headworks Reservoir.

This current project will replace the original River Supply Conduit, which was installed in the 1940s.

“LADWP has many projects underway to improve water system reliability and provide high quality drinking water to the 4 million residents of Los Angeles,” said Richard Harasick, LADWP’s Senior Assistant General Manager – Water System.

“Because of their size and scope, trunk line projects are among the more challenging in our efforts to upgrade infrastructure. This RSC7 project is a vitally important part of that overall effort. I would like to thank both our outstanding LADWP project team and the City of Burbank and its residents for teaming up to help us make this project a success.”

On February 8, 2020, a sunny Saturday morning, the general public was welcomed onto the project site to listen to Burbank Mayor Sharon Springer and Harasick speak, and then to be briefed on the work and the TBM by members of the project team. The lure of the event was evident, as approximately 60 to 75 visitors came by and had the mystery of “What’s behind the fence at Johnny Carson Park South?” solved.

“This was a great opportunity for us to explain RSC7 to the public,” Torroledo explained, “and I believe the people who attended were fully engaged and really came away with a much better understanding of the work we’re doing here. I want to thank the members of our project team who were here to answer questions and show visitors around.”

While the TBM is the main attraction at RSC7, a production of this magnitude doesn’t advance an inch without a great team. Overseeing the project is  Torroledo, who served as project manager before receiving a promotion just prior to the arrival of Luciana (the TBM, not the daughter). Torroledo has been at the Department for 16 years.

Project Manager Ruwanka Purasinghe with the giant tunnel boring machine. Photo by Chris Corsmeier

He handed off project management duties to Ruwanka Purasinghe, who has been with LADWP for over six years. Before joining the Project Management Office about a year and a half ago, Purasinghe served in the Geotechnical Engineering Group and brings a reservoir of tunneling experience to this massive undertaking.

“I am excited to take on this tunneling project as it will be a new perspective for me looking at things from the project management side,” Purasinghe said, “and hopefully being able to bring my previous experience into the decision-making and considerations made. I am also excited to be able to work with the stakeholders and communities on sharing information about this important LADWP project.”

Ali Sabouni serves as Construction Management and Support Contracts Manager. Also among the headliners is Alex Reyman, Construction Manager, who has an encyclopedic understanding of the project both on the macro and micro levels, and also has perfect eyesight when it comes to spotting potential safety violations. Fidel Zabalza is resident engineer. And there is also Julio Venegas, who is the design manager and performed all the high-tech slide-rule wizardry.

Then, of course, there is Luciana. “She is a marvel,” Torroledo said.

Clearly, he is very proud of Luciana. Both of them.

Retirements: December 2019 – January 2020

December 2019

Adauto,  Margaret A. Water Distribution
Bonfiglio, Tania S. Water Operations
Bourne, Lynette A. Fleet Services
Buchanan, Sheila A. Supply Chain Services
Galassi, Nick D. Metering Services and Field Operations
Harris, Bobby R. Integrated Technology Services
Hernandez, Jose G. Facilities Management
Humphries, Robert M. Water Operations
Johns, Donald L. Power Transmission and Distribution
Johnston, Robert L. Power Construction and Maintenance
Martinez, Michael M. Security Services
Moore, Patrick M. Power Construction and Maintenance
Paladugu, Babu R. Power Supply Operations
Pyros, Julie A. Internal Audit
Rapko, Darrell A. Power Transmission and Distribution
Smith-Waison, Paul C. Water Distribution
Tham, Patrick Power Planning, Development and Engineering
Torres, Aldo A. Facilities Management
Yousif, Zubair 0. Security Services

January 2020

Coronado, Marta L Customer Service Division
Davis, Donald B Power Transmission and Distribution
Flores, Adrian Y Power Regulatory Compliance
Howard, La T Customer Billing
Mack, Anthony V Integrated Support Services
Salyer, Gregory E Power Operating and Maintenance
Santoyo, Alfonso Fleet Services
Strafford, Joseph A Power Transmission and Distribution
Williams, Kenneth F Customer Service Division



In Memoriam: September-November 2019

LADWP extends its condolences to the families and friends of current and former employees who have recently passed.  Visit the Water and Power Retired Employees’ Retirement Plan website to view and download monthly notices of retirees and active employees who have passed away.

As of September 2019

Richard L. Abraham, 82 Energy Distribution Administration
Tomas E. Abutal, 85 Water Engineering and Technical  Services
Frank A. Auten, Jr., 94 General Services
John A. Balcer, 81 Power Operating and Maintenance
Helen D. Broge, 93 Power System Communication
Robert R. Cordova, 88 Watering Operating Division
Robert W. Cwialcala, 73 Fleet Services
Ada S. Franklin, 86 Commercial Services
Vivian Gadlin, 74 Commercial Services
Larry Gant, 79 Power Supply Operation
Lawrence L. Green, 83 Information Technology Services
Edith M. Hall, 87 Water Operating Division
James D. Henry, 88 Power Distribution and Construction
L. C. Kitchen, 97 Power Distribution Division
Nick J. Lodato, 90 General Services
Socorro R. Martinez, 83 Power Distribution Division
Lucy C. Matsuura, 68 Supply Chain Services
Richard E. Oakley, 84 Customer Service Division
Johnny L. Payne, 72 Energy Distribution Administration
Michael J. Wasco, Jr., 79 Power Distribution Division
Calvert G. White, 82 Aqueduct
Harold E. Wollam, 80 Power Distribution Division
Charles Zinger, 88 City Attorney

As of October 2019

Shigekazu S. Kakudo, 59 Chief Administrative Office
Kirk E. Strange, 60 Water  Operations and Quality Division
 Ruth 0. Baruth Lee, 96 Water Operating Division
John E. Baxter, 89 Aqueduct
Thomas V. Bottoms, 77 Facilities Management
James L. Byars, 89 Power Design and Construction
Joseph E. Cherry, 84 Power Construction  and Maintenance
Howard J. Christie, 97 Power Design and Construction
Mark C. DeBemardi, 68 Power Transmission  and  Distribution  Division
Thomas P. Duffy, 87 Water Operating Division
John E. Frias, 79 Fleet Services
Henrietta C. Gabaldon, 91 Power System Services
Kent E. Kline, 71 Energy Distribution
Inez J. Lewis, 97 Customer Service Division
Jeannette M. Lira, 69 Marketing and Customer Service
Gaetano K. Luisi, 88 Power Operation and Maintenance
Romelia Morales, 75 Energy Distribution Administration
Raymond L. Nelson, 88 Water Operating Division
Edmund T. Salcido, 77 Water Quality and Distribution
Alque Smith, 85 General Services Division
Benny H. Story, Jr., 91 Power Distribution
Leon L. Townsend, 89 Power Design and Construction
Dominic N. Tran, 89 Information Technology Service
Gloria J. Warren, 97 Land Division
Ronnie T. Washington, 74 Commercial Services

As of November 2019

John N. Rudek, 53 Supply Chain Services
Kenneth J. Salinas, 54 Power Construction and Maintenance
Don E. Vavra, 57 Human Resources / Security Services
Evelyn S. Berlant, 86 Commercial Services
Norma J. Bertrand, 84 Human Resources
Warren P. Charbonnet,74 Water Distribution
H.B. Clark, 90 Power Distribution
Glen C. DeLay, 90 Power Distribution
Bruce E. Dennis, 94 Commercial Services
Isidro D. Dojillo, Jr., 74 Power Construction and Maintenance
Marion L. Garrett, Jr., 64 Customer Service
Jonathan Huntley, 85 Power Distribution and Construction
Brent F. Kellerman, 68 Supply Chain Services
Chiaki Kobayashi, 92 Stores
Patricia A. McKee, 71 Customer Service
Gary M. Pintar, 71 Water Quality
Gleill1 E. Romine, 93 Water Operating Division
Kiyoshi E. Sakemi, 92 General Services
Marvin H. Scott, 88 General Services
Glen M. Singleton, 79 Power Construction and Maintenance
Alonzo Smith, 94 Water Operating
Leill1ox L. Taylor, 89 General Services
Henry C. Tensfeld, 94 Aqueduct Division
Thomas N. Woods, 76 Distribution Support Services

Winds and Wildfires Put Electric Crews on High Alert

LADWP Works to Prevent Wildfires without
Preemptively Shutting Down Power

By Carol Tucker

When the Santa Ana winds kick up and a high wind advisory flashes on his screen, Juan Esparza goes into overdrive. He immediately starts checking rosters and calling out to district superintendents to see how many crews he can drum up to support Electric Trouble during that night’s graveyard shift. These days, he is concerned not only about the wind causing power outages, but also about wind-driven hazards with the potential to interfere with electrical lines and trigger a wildfire.

“With conditions being so dry, the potential risk of fires has definitely increased,” said Esparza, a 25-year veteran of Electric Trouble and superintendent for 11 of those years. “When we send out crews to restore power outages during these conditions, they have to be prepared to do work to prevent or put out a fire as well as get the power back on.”

Andrew C. Kendall, Senior Assistant General Manager of Power System Construction Maintenance and Operations, said conditions this past fall – low humidity and an abundance of fuel such as dry grass — put the region at a greater risk of wildfires. “Any utility line, under the right circumstances, is capable of causing an arc, a flash, which sends sparks to the ground. The opportunity for fires is there if all the elements come together.”

All the elements came together during the early hours of October 28 as a wildfire began near the Getty Center in the Sepulveda Basin. Electric Trouble dispatched crews to the fire where an emergency unified command center was already set up. The Energy Control Center (ECC) de-energized three residential circuits in the immediate vicinity of the fire, serving portions of Bel Air, Brentwood and Westwood to prevent electrical equipment from sparking or flaring up hot spots.

Investigators later determined that wind had blown a dried-out eucalyptus branch from a tree located on private property into LADWP distribution lines, causing them to arc. The chain of events started by the wind-blown branch led to a brush fire that destroyed a dozen homes. Inspection showed no failure of electrical equipment in starting the Getty fire. The line that was struck by the branch remained in service throughout the fire and the pole was not significantly damaged. LADWP had also performed aggressive vegetation management in the fire vicinity, such as trimming 248 trees, in July to protect the public’s safety and to prevent power outages.


The Getty Fire destroyed six poles that were replaced by the following day.

Earlier that month, 45 LADWP electrical crews were mobilized to restore outages and repair equipment destroyed by the Saddleridge fire in the Sylmar area of northern Los Angeles. The cause of that fire remains under investigation, and no LADWP equipment was implicated or involved. Pushed by 60 mph wind gusts, the wildfire burned 8,800 acres and destroyed 16 power poles. As a result of that fire, LADWP crews replaced 40 poles, 4,000 feet of overhead and 150 feet of underground conductors. Power was restored within 24 hours for all 17,200 customers who were affected.

Power Shut-offs
Wildfire exposure and mitigation related to power equipment has become a hot button issue for electric utilities, their customers, governing bodies, regulatory agencies, and the financial community. Prior to this fall’s devastating blazes, the 2018 Camp Fire in Northern California and the 2017 fires in Ventura, Santa Barbara, and Los Angeles counties were linked to power lines and other electrical equipment.

The increase in the number and severity of wildfires in California has heightened the need for electric utilities to mitigate the risk of fires involving power equipment. Facing predictions of high fire threat this year, the state’s major investor-owned utilities (IOUs) – Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison – preemptively shut off power for large swaths of customers to prevent electric equipment from sparking a blaze. LADWP has determined not to take that extreme measure because only a fraction of its service territory lies in high fire threat zones, and the Department coordinates regularly with the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD).

“We want to assure our customers that LADWP does not turn off power to customers before or during wind events. Due to our location in a highly urbanized area with far fewer wildfire prone areas, we do not face the same threat of wildfire as many of the rural counties located in other service areas served by the larger investor-owned utilities,” according to a Department statement issued October 9.

To put the service territories into context, PG&E serves an area approximately 70,000 square miles, Southern California Edison’s service area is 50,000 square miles, while the City of Los Angeles, served by LADWP, is approximately 465 square miles. According to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Fire Threat map, only 0.5 percent of LADWP distribution system lies in an extreme risk (Tier 3) area and about 15 percent of its power distribution lines traverse an elevated risk (Tier 2) area.

“The LAFD has been working closely with our partners at DWP to assist with their ongoing efforts to mitigate wildfire risk,” said LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas. “It’s a process that DWP is firmly committed to and together our agencies will continue that work going forward to protect Angelenos from the threat of wildfire.”

Stepping Up Wildfire Mitigation
Since 2008, LADWP has employed reliability standards for power equipment that helps mitigate wildfire risks in high-threat fire zones. In addition, the Department has aggressive vegetation management and Power System Reliability Programs (PSRP), both of which serve to help mitigate wildfires.

During Red Flag warning periods (when the National Weather Service informs firefighting and other agencies that conditions are ideal for a wildfire), additional restrictions are in place for work in designated fire threat and brush clearance areas. For example, LADWP suspends all non-essential work in Tier 2 and 3 zones. Esparza said that when work has to be done in these zones, “crews need to carry all their safety gear, communications, food and water to the location they are working, not leave them in the truck down the hill.” In some cases, dried brush is cleared, trees are trimmed, and the ground soaked within a 10-foot radius prior to doing the electric work.

This year, LADWP has put new protocols in place to further prevent wildfires and more are in the works. LADWP distribution lines are designed to automatically re-energize after they relay out. For the first time, LADWP turned off the automatic re-closure function of its distribution lines in the area of the Saddleridge fire and the Getty fire in addition to de-energizing those circuits directly impacted by the fires.

LADWP also recently presented a new Wildfire Mitigation Plan to the Board of Water and Power Commissioners in compliance with state legislation (SB 901), which requires that public utilities prepare a wildfire mitigation plan by January 1, 2020 and update it annually thereafter. “The plan calls for hardening our system against fire risk. We’ll be installing more steel poles and covered wire,” said Kendall, noting that insulated wire is becoming an industry practice in fire threat areas.

Proactive Maintenance

Jeff Williams, Transmission and Distribution District Supervisor, is a subject matter expert on all things related fire mitigation regulations. He said LADWP has a robust inspection and maintenance program that either meets or exceeds state and federal regulations. If a pole is determined to be deteriorated and presents a fire risk, it is scheduled for replacement within a year for Tier 2 fire risk zones and within six months for Tier 3 fire risk zones.

“We ensure the equipment is in safe operating condition and clear of trees, brush, weeds and other vegetation that may cause damage in high wind situations,” Williams said. That includes using infrared cameras on distribution equipment to look for “hot spots,” indicating a loose connection that could lead to a fault. LADWP also performs regular ground inspections of vegetation that may cause damage to power lines in high wind situations, and trims brush and trees as necessary.

Over the last five years, LADWP has invested $3.9 billion in Power System reliability work, which includes the replacement of aging infrastructure and reduces the frequency and duration of power service interruptions.

Ken Boothe, Supervisor of Transmission and Distribution out of the Van Nuys District, was overseeing the replacement of two wooden poles on Tujunga Canyon Boulevard that were damaged by a falling tree during a wind storm. Because of the location in a Tier 3 extreme fire risk zone, Power Distribution opted to replace the wooden poles with steel poles. Situated close to homes, up against a hillside, the poles were supporting two spans of 4.8 kV wires along with communication lines.

The majority of LADWP poles are still wood but they are often replaced with taller steel poles in the fire risk areas. The wooden poles are still preferred in some locations, such as a high wind area because they are shorter and stouter.

A Van Nuys District crew works to replace a fallen wood pole with a steel pole in Tujunga–an extreme fire risk zone.

Coordinated Effort

It was early the morning of October 29 when Esparza finally went home to get some rest before coming back to the Unified Command Center at Jackie Robinson Stadium off Sepulveda Boulevard, just southeast of where the Getty fire was burning in the canyon.  Both LADWP Water and Power Systems had set up emergency command post vehicles on the command center grounds. While Electric Trouble crews worked to restore power, monitor electrical lines, and coordinate with the Fire Department, Water Operations was ensuring that tanks and reservoirs were filled and ready to assist firefighters as needed.

Altogether the Getty fire affected up to 1,360 customers during its peak, with 88 percent restored within 24 hours. Six poles were damaged by the fire and LADWP crews worked through the night and following day to replace them. LADWP will proactively replace another eight wooden poles with steel poles, and will replace 2,000 feet of overhead conductors with insulated wire.

“It definitely takes a coordinated effort both with other agencies and among our LADWP divisions,” Esparza said, as he prepared for a briefing at the Unified Command Center with LAFD, LADWP’s Water System Operations, L.A. Building and Safety, L.A. Unified School District, Cal Fire, Southern California Gas Co. and many other agencies.

Along with the Water and Power Systems, LADWP’s response to the Getty Fire required support from many other divisions including Office of Emergency Management, Customer Service, Information Technology, and Public Affairs. “I made a lot of new friends,” Esparza said. “You get to know people from other divisions and feel like you’re part of a team. We all may work for the same company but a disaster like this really brings you together.”

LADWP Welcomes Nicole Neeman Brady to Board of Commissioners

Nicole Neeman Brady, an environmental policy expert with experience in energy, water and agricultural management, was appointed to the Board of Water and Power Commissioners by Mayor Eric Garcetti. She was confirmed by the Los Angeles City Council on November 8, 2019 to serve a term ending June 30, 2021.

“Nicole’s breadth of experience in environmental policy and track record as a creative problem-solver will make her a powerful leader at LADWP,” said Mayor Garcetti. “I have no doubt that her vision and expertise will help us strengthen a utility that’s front and center in building a greener, more sustainable Los Angeles.”

Neeman Brady has over 11 years of experience in energy, water, and agriculture management, and she currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer and Principal of the Renewable Resources Group, where she directs investments and develops opportunities. She’s also a member of the Colorado River Board of California and sits on the board of directors for the Library Foundation of Los Angeles.

Prior to joining the Renewable Resources Group, Neeman Brady was President and Founder of Edison Water Resources, a subsidiary of Edison International, where she developed water treatment and recycling strategies. Neeman Brady also served in several leadership roles at Southern California Edison, including the role of Director of Energy Procurement.

“I am excited and humbled by the opportunity to represent the city and LADWP’s customers in providing oversight of our utility, and I’m grateful for Mayor Garcetti’s trust and support,” said Neeman Brady. “I’m eager to begin, and look forward to being a part of shaping our great city’s water and power future.”

Earlier in her Edison career, Neeman Brady served as Director of Renewable and Alternative Power Contracts, and Manager of Strategic Projects. Before joining Edison, Neeman Brady worked in consulting for McKinsey & Co, strategic planning for Twentieth Century Fox, and private equity for Goldman Sachs.

She holds dual Bachelor of Arts degrees, with honors, in architecture and in economics from Brown University and a Master of Business Administration degree, with distinction, from Harvard Business School.

Neeman Brady currently serves on the Colorado River Board of California and on the board of directors of the Library Foundation of Los Angeles.


The Great Comeback of the Public Drinking Water Fountain

By Albert Rodriguez

Long revered as a symbol of health, civic pride and a champion of public space, the urban drinking water fountain has seen tough times in recent years. The advent and saturation of single-use plastic water bottles and sugary drinks has denigrated the once noble water fountain to a weathered, barely functioning object of curiosity in parks and schools.

Today, all that is changing, as LADWP moves forward with a multi-faceted initiative to make Los Angeles one of the most sustainable cities in the world.  LADWP plans to install or refurbish 200 drinking water fountains, more recently referred to as hydration stations, citywide by 2035 for the enjoyment and health of all residents and visitors in the city. LADWP will partner with the City’s Department of Recreation and Parks and Department of General Services to install, refurbish and maintain the hydration stations.

L.A.’s Tap Water, by the Numbers

1 state-of-the-art filtration plant
2 aqueducts
84 pump stations,
118 tanks and reservoirs,
328 pressure regulator and relief stations (controls water pressure)
560 miles of trunklines (pipes greater than 20 inches in diameter)
6,780 miles of distribution mainlines (20 inches in diameter or less)
120,000 water quality tests performed on samples taken throughout the city!

This concerted effort to increase access to clean drinking water and decrease reliance on single-use plastic water bottles is one way LADWP can promote a more sustainable, healthier future for customers and the communities it serves. Nearly 50 million plastic water bottles are purchased and discarded every year across the U.S. with only 30 percent getting recycled. This is in addition to the environmental impacts created and the resources used to manufacture, package, and distribute these bottles.

It is only fitting that a world-class city like Los Angeles promote its drinking water and public hydration stations in much the same way that Rome, Tokyo or Paris does. Locals in those cities use their nasonis, mizu nomi ba, and fontaines d’eau potable every day. In contrast, many people here in L.A. don’t realize that bottled water is largely unregulated while LADWP’s tap water meets all federal and state drinking water regulations.

“The new and refurbished hydration stations will remind Angelinos of the importance that clean drinking water plays in our lives, our health and our connection to the environment,” said Razmik Manoukian, LADWP Director of Water Quality. “Thanks to LADWP’s comprehensive planning, robust treatment and monitoring infrastructure, our drinking water is clean and reliable and should be a focal point of our civic pride as it is in many other prominent cities.”

The new hydration stations will be placed at a variety of locations throughout the city where individuals can fill up their reusable water bottles with clean, refreshing tap water. All hydration stations will feature reusable water bottle filling stations and some outdoor stations will include spigots to fill water bowls for pets.

Stations have already been placed at Balboa Park, L.A. City Hall East, and at the John Ferraro Building. In addition to the installation at large municipal buildings and at parks, LADWP is working to install or refurbish hydration stations at our customer service centers and employee facilities.  Older water fountains will be replaced with new stations at LADWP’s Water Testing Laboratory, Water Quality Laboratory, L.A. Aqueduct Filtration Plant, Western Yard, East Valley Yard and the Surveyors Office.

As the city prepares for the 2028 Olympics, LADWP will be working to strategically place hydration stations in areas that are anticipated to have large gatherings of spectators and participants. These stations will provide an alternative to sugary drinks and help promote the benefits of drinking water. LADWP counterparts at Eau de Paris (Paris Water) are currently preparing for the 2024 Olympics and have over 1,200 hydration stations throughout their city.

“We are working closely with our friends in Paris to learn from their experience and efforts,” said Serge Haddad, Section Manager in LADWP’s Water Quality Division.  “The Olympics is a world stage where people witness the best athletes competing for medals and it is the perfect opportunity to put L.A. water on that highest podium and share why it’s the gold standard in quality.”

 Moreover, LADWP is looking to expand the Hydration Station program by establishing partnerships with commercial customers and other agencies such as LAUSD. Educating children on the benefits of L.A.’s drinking water is critical to achieving the city’s sustainability goals for future generations.

L.A.’s drinking water is safe and treated to the highest quality.  So drink up, and drink with confidence!


Water Quality Staff Meet Adopt-A-School Pen Pals at Special JFB Luncheon

By Albert Rodriguez

LADWP Water Quality staff helped kick-start summer 2019 back in June for their Adopt-A-School pen pals from 75th Street Elementary School with an end-of-the-school-year celebration and luncheon. The event at the John Ferraro Building, finally allowed the pen pals to meet in person following a year of exchanging hand-written letters about their hobbies, family and friends, school work, and career goals. The program helps students develop reading, writing, and social skills and also provides them with an opportunity to learn from our own in-house S.T.E.M. professionals by developing friendships and learning about careers in the water system.

LADWP employees and their student pen pals were able to get to know each other face-to-face, enjoy a meal and listen to informative presentations by Utility Services Specialist Lead, Sandra Yeh on how the Pen Pal program benefited and motivated her as a young student and another on water conservation by Anthony Tew, Civil Engineering Associate. After the meal students took part in an interactive science experiment developed by LADWP Microbiologist and Adopt-a-School program coordinator Manely Rashedan. Students learned about culturing microbes and their presence on various surfaces/objects.

“We planned all the presentation and activities in a way that would inspire our little pen pals to think about a future career in S.T.E.M. fields,” said Rashedan “Students had a wonderful time meeting their employee pen pals and loved participating in the science activity. It was quite special to them.”

75th Street Elementary School is one of 22 schools adopted by LADWP during the 2018-2019 school year. The two main components of LADWP’s Adopt-A-School initiative include the Pen Pal Program and Reading Buddies Program. Although this is the 8th year the Water Quality Division has partnered with 75th Street Elementary School, employees Department-wide have written to and inspired students at various local elementary schools since the Adopt-A-School program began back in 1984.

LADWP Headquarters Gets Charged Up

JFB Becomes Test Site for Dual Battery Pilot Project

By Carol Tucker

The northeast corner of the LADWP JFB parking lot has hosted several demonstration projects over the years, including a 200 kW fuel cell and three micro-turbines totaling 120 kW. Recently, the site has been expanded to accommodate a battery energy storage system (BESS) pilot project that will help determine the viability of battery technology in transitioning to a clean energy future for Los Angeles.

The JFB BESS Pilot Project will “pave the way for multiple energy storage projects at the transmission and distribution levels as well as customer-owned energy storage projects,” said James Barner, Manager of Resource Planning and Development.  “This project will help inform future decisions on achieving the goals of the Mayor’s Green New Deal and state mandates for reducing carbon emissions from our power generation portfolio.” Under the Green New Deal, LADWP is working to increase renewable energy to 55% by 2025, 80% by 2036, and 100% by 2045 and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from its power portfolio.

“It’s important that we gain a better understanding of all available energy storage technologies to meet our goals,” said Electrical Engineer Matt Hone, who heads the Power System’s energy storage and new technologies group. Once the test period is concluded, the JFB BESS will be used for a variety of energy applications, such as shaving energy use during peak periods, and remote energy monitoring and control.

The project has involved installing two types of battery energy storage technologies side by side, and connecting them to LADWP’s headquarters building. One is a 100 kW, 4-hour lithium-ion battery and the other is a 100 kW, 4-hour vanadium redox flow battery.

With installation nearly complete, the project will undergo a series of tests before being placed into service prior to the end of the year. Subsequently, LADWP will partner with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) for a one-year pilot study. The study will evaluate and gain insights regarding the performance, operation and feasibility of these two types of battery technology as well as provide training for LADWP staff. Other goals are to help LADWP transition to a more resilient electric power system, and ensure that the most up-to-date operational and safety standards are incorporated.

Lithium-ion batteries are the more popular type of battery technology, commonly used in cell phones and also widely used in electric and hybrid vehicles. LADWP has already gained experience with lithium-ion batteries at the Beacon Energy Storage System in the Mojave Desert. Flow batteries are not widely used by electric utilities but offer a lot of potential advantages for energy storage, such as improved safety, increased charging capacity and longer duration capability. Flow batteries use liquid electrolyte stored in external tanks rather than in each battery cell.

Arevik Petrosyan, Associate Electrical Engineer and Project Manager along with Hone, said the two-year initiative has been a team effort including staff from Power Engineering and Construction, Architecture and Drafting, Fire Protection, Supply Chain, and Information Technology Services to address various issues including those related to cyber security. LADWP construction forces did all site preparation work, such as foundation expansion, conduit and ground grid installation, transformer, switch gear and other interconnection equipment. The contractor, Doosan GridTech /KTY Engineering, has been tasked with procuring, installing, integrating, and testing and commissioning both battery systems.

La Kretz Goes LEED Platinum

LADWP’s La Kretz Innovation Campus is the first building in the U.S. to achieve both LEED v3 Platinum in New Construction and WELL v1 Gold Core and Shell certifications. LEED Platinum is the highest achievement for a building, according to the United States Green Building Council’s (USGBC) rating system, and La Kretz is the first LADWP building to achieve this level.

“At LADWP, we are committed to walking our talk about sustainability, and that includes green buildings,” said Commissioner Cynthia McClain-Hill, Vice President of the Board of Water and Power Commissioners. “Everything that is happening at La Kretz not only makes sense environmentally, but economically as well, and it shows how our customers and partners can be a part of our move toward a clean energy future.”

Located in LA’s Arts District, the fully-renovated campus, managed by the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), is a 60,000 square-foot, one-story brick masonry building that was purchased by LADWP in 2010. To celebrate the LEED and WELL certifications, LADWP and LACI held an unveiling of the designation plaques at the campus during the recent Net Zero Conference & Expo, the world’s largest annual building industry event dedicated to net zero energy, water, waste, and transit.

“At LADWP, we are proud to have our sustainability practices extend to not only our customers, but our internal operations as well,” says Chief Sustainability Officer, Nancy Sutley. “By implementing extensive clean energy measures throughout our facilities, we are leading by example to help minimize our environmental impact.”

LADWP created the space as a hub for merging science, entrepreneurship, environmentalism and policymaking to advance the development of a sustainable future.  La Kretz was able to achieve LEED platinum status, thanks in large part to state-of-the-art, innovative design features such as a grey water system that provides irrigation for a neighboring park, a microgrid energy solar and battery system, a 175-kilowatt photovoltaic solar canopy, fast charger EV stations and two bioswales.

La Kretz is also the first public building to be WELL certified in Los Angeles. The building was able to achieve WELL Gold due to the facility’s access to LADWP’s quality potable water system, excellent inside air quality and the overall well-being of the building design. The WELL Building Standard is a performance-based system for measuring, certifying, and monitoring features of the built environment that impact human health and wellbeing, through air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and mind.


Stormwater and Solar+Storage Projects Honored for Engineering Excellence

Western Council of Construction Consumers Honors LADWP with Six Awards

By Paola Adler

Two innovative LADWP projects were recently honored with six awards from the Western Council of Construction Consumers (WCCC) for excellence, sustainability and innovation in construction. LADWP Water System’s Tujunga Spreading Grounds Enhancement Project and LADWP Power System’s Beacon Solar & Battery Energy Storage System were each awarded three 2019 Owners’ Project Excellence Awards. The WCCC award program recognizes continuous improvement and excellence in engineering, design and construction of quality, cost-effective, innovative and sustainable construction projects.

The Tujunga Spreading Grounds Enhancement Project reconfigures and deepens 20 existing stormwater capture spreading basins of varying sizes into 10 deeper basins, doubling the capture capacity of the stormwater that percolates into the natural aquifer below to recharge the City’s groundwater supply. The Tujunga Spreading Grounds Enhancement Project will increase LADWP’s capture capacity to 5 billion gallons of water, enough to supply up to 48,000 single family homes in Los Angeles. The enhancements will also help improve the environment and provide social equity by beautifying the community with native vegetation and open space.

LADWP’s Beacon Solar & Battery Energy Storage System is the Department’s largest owned solar plus utility-scale energy storage facility, supplying 250 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy alongside a 20MW lithium-ion battery storage system. The project is the first of its kind for the Department. The power plant and storage system work in tandem to supply clean, carbon-free energy to LADWP’s customers while maintaining reliability. The project will help support the Department’s renewable energy goals, such as providing a 100 percent renewable energy supply by 2045 as outlined by Mayor Eric Garcetti’s 2019 Sustainable City pLAn.

“These two projects showcase LADWP’s commitment to excellence across the Department,” said Martin L. Adams, LADWP General Manager and Chief Engineer. “Innovation in engineering has always been at the core of what we do at LADWP, all the way back to William Mulholland. Our employees continue to plan and build innovative solutions to provide safe and reliable water and power to our customers.”

In the “Infrastructure – New Construction” category, WCCC awarded LADWP’s Beacon project its second highest award, the Distinguished Project Achievement Award, for meeting its criteria requirements while also maintaining an extraordinary safety record. LADWP’s Tujunga Spreading Grounds project received the Exceptional Project Achievement Award, the WCCC’s third highest honor, in the “Infrastructure – Renovation” category. Both projects were also recognized with two Special Distinction Awards – the Sustainability Excellence Award, given to projects that achieved high sustainability requirements, took creative sustainability approaches and achieved significant energy savings; and the Innovative Project Solutions Award, for projects where new, unique or innovative construction solutions were implemented.

The projects have also been recognized through industry awards at the state and national level, with Tujunga receiving two awards in Excellence in Environmental Engineering and Science from the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Sciences (AAEES) in April 2019 and Beacon being chosen as the American Society of Civil Engineer (ASCE) Region 9 “Outstanding Energy Project” for 2018.

LADWP’s Water Resources division is supporting the Tujunga Spreading Grounds Enhancement Project, which will be completed in late 2020. Learn more about the project by visiting or watching the following video.

LADWP’s Beacon Solar & Battery Energy Storage System has been operational since October 2018. You can learn more by reading our project profile here on Intake.

Retirements: November 2019

We extend sincere congratulations to all the employees who, after many years of dedicated service, are joining the ranks of LADWP retirees. For a complete archive  and the latest month of retirement listings, visit the Water and Power Employees Retirement Plan website.

Blondeel-Timmerman,John F Power Transmission and Distribution
Carter, Carolyn A Customer Service Division
Castellanos, Robert R Power Construction and Maintenance
Foerstel, Gregory J Power Transmission and Distribution
Fox, Gary A Fleet Services
Golfo , Rolando D Power Supply Operations
Gonzalez, Josephine A Office of Sustainability
Hughes, Thomas W Power Supply Operations
Hulsey, Gary R Power New Business
Kirkwood, Calvin Water Distribution
Lopez, David F Supply Chain Services
Mannino,James P Power Construction and Maintenance
Martinez,Timothy M Power Supply Operations
Mcauley, William Security Services
Morrow, Ronald H Power Safety and Training
Nine, Michael S Water Distribution
Osborn, Gregory J Power Transmission and Distribution
Posey, James A Water Engineering
Sherrod, Christy M Customer Service Division
Sloan, Helena J Customer Service Division
Starkjohann, Gregory J Water Operations
Street, Marshall A Water Distribution
Tasinga, Isaac K Power Construction and Maintenance
Torres, Oscar V Power Supply Operations
Zumwalt, Mark L Integrated Support Services