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News & Insights

Water Systems Consulting was an active participant and contributor at the Northwest region’s largest wastewater and stormwater conference. The Pacific Northwest Clean Water Association’s (PNCWA) annual conference was held October 22-25 in Vancouver, Washington. PNCWA is one of 75 global Member Associations that collectively form the Water Environment Federation (WEF). PNCWA focuses on education, innovation and advancements in water resources, supporting professionals in Oregon, Washington and Idaho.

WSC’s Portland team, Founder and CEO Jeff Szytel, and Jasmine Diaz, an engineer and a certified operator from our San Luis Obispo office, actively participated in the three-day conference. WSC contributed to technical committee meetings, sponsored the Women’s Networking Reception, and presented on the technical program. This year’s theme centered around raising awareness and guiding principles for achieving equality and social justice in our projects and programs. The conference technical program covered topics from innovative treatment technologies, operational efficiency, utility management and leadership, and cost-effective asset management.

Jasmine Diaz, PE, Grade V WWTPO, presented on the City of San Luis Obispo’s unprecedented need to meet new disinfection by-product (DPB) limits at the future Water Resource Recovery Facility (WRRF). The City of San Luis Obispo is striving to meet DPB limits which are stricter than existing drinking water DBP limits. Ms. Diaz’s direct experience in operations at the WRRF, as well as her role in the ongoing WRRF expansion, provided great insight into the complexity of meeting the future limits. Ms. Diaz addressed California’s DBP regulation in water and wastewater, the challenges associated with designing a WRRF to minimize formation of DBPs, identifying DBP sources in the WRRF treatment process, and finding collaborative solutions to optimize the existing process to comply with the new stringent DBP limits prior to discharge into a local creek.

Jasmine Diaz

At the Women’s Networking Reception, WSC shared a unique brochure that featured quotes that inspire the women on our staff and their favorite books for women leaders in water.

Women in Water

It was a successful event for our clients and staff, and our team is energized by the opportunities to continue to provide value, creative thinking and solutions to our clients’ toughest water resource challenges in the Northwest.


It is easy to understand why the Central Coast’s tourism industry is booming and so many people want to live here. The moderate weather, accessible surf and natural beauty have a little something for everybody.

However, what we leave behind is a threat not only to the beauty of this place, but to the marine life that calls the Central Coast home. Birds, fish and marine mammals mistake plastic for food, become entangled in fishing line, and have their habitat degraded by debris.

WSC is proud to join ECOSLO and the California Coastal Commission for the 2017 Coastal Cleanup from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Sept. 16. As the site captain for the Shell Beach cleanup, WSC will coordinate the collection of trash along the shoreline, provide bags to volunteers, and assist with the disposal of what is collected. Anyone interested in joining the cleanup may meet at South Palisades Park on Beachcomber Drive (194 Beachcomber Dr, Pismo Beach, CA 93449). Volunteers will check in at the park where WSC’s site captain will be for registration.

If you would like to participate, please wear closed-toe shoes and bring water and snacks. In an attempt to minimize the production of more trash, we encourage you to being your own bags, buckets, and reusable gloves. Additionally, litter grabbers and sieves are also useful tools to assist in the clean up.

Coastal Cleanup Day Poster

ECOSLO is organizing 30 cleanup sites throughout San Luis Obispo County and there are 863 cleanup sites throughout California. Last year, approximately 1,200 volunteers in San Luis Obispo County removed 6,500 pounds of trash and recyclables. To find more information, or a Cleanup site near you, visit ecoslo.org/coastal-cleanup-day.

Coastal Cleanup Day is just one way to combat litter. Using data about what types of trash is most commonly found during Coastal Cleanups can help us make conscious decisions about what we purchase and how we dispose of our waste. In the past, data from this clean up has also contributed to legislative decisions to help lessen our impact on our environment.


Standing on the granite lip of Half Dome nearly 5,000 feet above the majestic Yosemite Valley, and 8,839 feet above sea level, a group of WSC employees made a special call in to work Friday, July 28, to share their achievement and view.

WSC employees hold the company flag on top of Half Dome on Friday, July 28.

The group reached the top of Half Dome around 11 a.m. and soon placed a Facetime call back to the San Luis Obispo office to share the view from the top, as well as the local marmot population. They were greeted by those still at work and three dogs who spent the day in the office.

A group of WSC employees, family and friends take in the view of Yosemite Valley from on top of  Half Dome on Friday, July 28.

It is trips like this that strengthen WSC’s incredible workplace culture. Struggling together up a long, steep trail cultivated mutual respect, relaxing in the cool waters of a mountain swimming hole built friendships, and sharing stories around a campfire enhanced their personal investment in each other.

The trip was organized by the WSC Rocks Committee, an internal committee focused on connecting staff across offices through relationship building exercises and experiences, as well as elevating the WSC culture. 19 WSC employees, family and friends spent the weekend in Yosemite National Park — 10 of whom made the 15 ½-mile trek from the Valley floor, up the Mist Trail to Half Dome and down the John Muir Trail.

WSC employees, family and friends stand on top of Half Dome on Friday, July 28.

After a weekend like this, it is no surprise that “fun” was the most common word employees used to describe working at WSC in the client survey issued by INC. Magazine to determine the Best Places to Work in 2017, ultimately leading WSC to be selected for this monumental acknowledgement.

Not only that, the WSC Rocks Committee is gearing up for the annual company camping trip in late August where even more WSC employees, family, and friends  from offices throughout California and Oregon will come together for four days in beautiful Morro Bay, CA.


An Era of Growth

June 1st, 2017

Inc. Magazine recently named WSC one of America’s Best Workplaces as well as one of the Fastest Growing Companies. This signifies that we are living up our mission of putting people first while fostering an environment of next-generation thinkers and professionals.

Since the beginning of 2016, WSC achieved significant successes and numerous milestones both internally and alongside our clients. We continue to invest in our employees while finding new ways to partner with existing clients, develop new relationships, and provide a sustainable One Water future for the communities we serve.

Below, are some highlights since the start of 2016.
(click on image for an expanded view)

WSC-2016-2017-infographic_v3_test

Celebrating the People of Water” was the primary focus of the recent California Water Environment Associations (CWEA) Annual Conference in Palm Springs this year. Several WSC professionals and a team of local municipal leaders led one of the main CWEA conference events, the Water Resiliency Leadership: One Water Solutions on California’s Central Coast workshop. The workshop celebrated One Water leaders from the California Central Coast, followed by facilitated small-team role playing to envision and create collaborative water resiliency solutions.

We set out to deliver a workshop format that would engage participants differently on the One Water topic. We wanted to provide high value for the participant’s time. This format allowed participants to practice their One Water dialogue and leave with insight and tools they can take back to their organizations,” said Jeff Szytel, workshop facilitator and Founder and CEO of WSC. Jeff worked closely with Carrie Mattingly, Director of Utilities for the City of San Luis Obispo, and a team comprised of the City of San Luis Obispo, City of Pismo Beach, and WSC to organize the 3-hour workshop.

The workshop began with a comprehensive look at recent and local recycled water resiliency efforts. It brought to light the many challenges associated with gaining support, collaboration, funding, and implementation of projects that secure our existing and future water needs. “Our Central Coast water leaders have many success stories that demonstrate the value of water, and the needed creativity, collaboration, and foresight required to make the paradigm shift in achieving water resiliency,” Jeff said.

Radhika Fox, CEO of US Water Alliance, a CWEA conference guest, and a nationally recognized One Water leader, began the Panel discussion with an overview of the recently published One Water Roadmap guiding principles.

The One Water Approach

Other Panel Members included:

cweaagenda

The full program agenda is available here.

Role Playing Table Discussions:

Following the Panel discussion, each table team participated in a role playing exercise and One Water solution collaboration. Participants were asked to assume the role of their selected role card. Each table had varying interests including: Water District, Agriculture Private Interest, City, County, Wastewater District, Investor Owned Water Utility, and State Water Resources Control Board representative. As CWEA conference organizers recognized, the guided discussion proved to be fun and engaging. Live Tweets from the workshop were posted to #OneWaterCWEA

Role Card

Following the collaborative discussions, table teams depicted their One Water solutions to share with the other workshop attendees. See some examples to below:

Example Work

WSC was honored to be part of this important event. The workshop planning team worked for several months to ensure the workshop was a success and provided value to participants.

A recent blog post by Ms. Fox captured her experience as a presenter and an audience member. She highlights the innovative work being done along the Central Coast, with the support of WSC, including: The City of San Luis Obispo’s Water Resource Recovery Facility Upgrade Project and the Regional Groundwater Sustainability Project (RGSP), a collaboration between five agencies. The City of Pismo Beach and South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District are leading the RGSP, and the Project will also benefit the cities of Arroyo Grande and Grover Beach, as well as Ocean Community Services District.

To view her blog post, click here: http://uswateralliance.org/resources/blog/one-water-roadmap-action-californias-central-coast