Wednesday, September 03, 2014 • 12:33
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Water District receives huge refund for outstanding efforts



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Director Merle Aleshire, far right, proudly announces the more than $90,000 refund that the VCMWD received from ACWA-JPIA. Also pictured, from left to right, are Water District staff James Pugh, Gregory Hoyle, and Wally Grabbe.
February 10, 2014
Good news abounded at Monday's Board of Director's Meeting of the Valley Center Municipal Water District (VCMWD), including a refund of over $90,000 and one of the district's wastewater reclamation facilities being named as a San Diego Section Plant of the Year.

The Association of California Water Agencies Joint Power Insurance Authority (ACWA-JPIA) presented the District with the President's Special Recognition Award due to their hard work in reducing loss claims. In all three of the JPIA programs — Liability, Property, and Workers' Compensation — the VCMWD emerged with a loss-to-premiums-paid ratio below 20% for periods ending in 2012. Peter Kuchinsky, senior risk management consultant for JPIA, spoke at the meeting "to congratulate Valley Center on their efforts."

"All districts get visited by the JPIA at least once a year, and it's kind of like an annual physical. We come to make sure you're still in existence, that you're still following the best practices, and we talk about losses," said Kuchinksy. "Valley Center has good and running programs."

In addition to the award, JPIA will also refund a whopping $92,763 of the District's premium. With the premium sitting around $190,000, that's a refund of nearly 50%.

"We were the third highest refund agency in the state of California for JPIA," said Director Merle Aleshire, Ph. D. "Since refunds really got to humming, we received $407,532 in refunds from the insurance program in the last six years. So it's just an unbelievably outstanding performance, and thanks to our staff."

According to Gary Arant, general manager, this is the second largest refund the District has received in the last five years, the highest being a $119,000 refund in the '09-'10 fiscal year.

The Board also unanimously agreed to sign the JPIA Commitment to Excellence, which is a promise to reduce the potential and frequency of vehicle losses, infrastructure related losses, construction related losses, employment practices claims, and ergonomic and fall injuries. Valley Center will be one of the first — if not the first — ACWA-JPIA district to participate in the program.

Another exciting development from the meeting was that the District's Lower Moosa Canyon Wastewater Reclamation Facility received the "2013 Plant of the Year Award" from the California Water Environment Association's San Diego Section. The Moosa Facility earned the award in the "Less than 5 MGD" (millions of gallon per day) category due to a variety of innovation improvements, resulting in a 65% reduction of energy and a 75% reduction in chemical use.

"What's happened over the last six, seven, eight years has been a commitment to make the plant operate and function as efficiently as possible," said Arant. The Moosa Facility will now be entered to win Plant of the Year at the state level in competition with plants from nine different regions. A CWEA "supergroup" will pay a visit to the plant on Feb. 12 to make their evaluation. Arant believes the Woods Valley Ranch Wastewater Reclamation Facility will also be a candidate for its own award in the future.

In other news, the District will apply a tiered commercial wastewater rate for the Meadow Lake Country Club within the Moosa Facility service area. This new rate structure would allow for greater flexibility as the water needs of commercial areas change with different occupants. If successful, the rate concept may also be applied to the Woods Valley Ranch Facility service area in the future.

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