O.C.’s Filipino American Chamber Presents Its Greenest Company Award to IRWD

The Filipino American Chamber of Commerce of Orange County has honored Irvine Ranch Water District with its 2019 Emerald Award for Greenest Company.

The award — which recognizes IRWD for its environmentally friendly programs such as recycled water and its Energy Storage Project — was presented Sept. 12 at the Chamber’s tenth annual Green & Health Expo in Garden Grove.

“On behalf of the Irvine Ranch Water District, I am quite honored to be here today,” said IRWD Executive Director of Water Policy Paul Weghorst, who accepted the award. “Environmental stewardship is one of our District’s core values, and we take this important recognition to heart.”

The Filipino American Chamber of Commerce of Orange County gives Emerald Awards to a select few local companies and agencies whose products, initiatives and business practices benefit the environment, improve local health, and contribute to a healthy lifestyle.

“IRWD is a longtime leader in green and sustainable practices,” Weghorst said, “particularly when it comes to recycled water.”

Since 1963, IRWD has created recycled water by capturing water that goes down the drain in local homes and businesses, then running it through a multi-step treatment process. Today, this drought-proof water makes up a quarter of the District’s supply, saving IRWD from importing expensive water from Northern California or out of state.

Recycled water is not for drinking, but it keeps our community green and beautiful in an environmentally sustainable way.  Almost all of the public and commercial landscape in the IRWD service area — including parks, medians, college campuses, homeowners association properties and golf courses — is irrigated with recycled water. It also is used for air conditioning and toilet flushing in some commercial buildings, for fighting wildfires, and for concrete production, composting, and dust control on construction sites. Recycled water reduces the need for additional drinking water facilities and reduces the amount of treated sewage discharged into the ocean. Every gallon of recycled water saves a gallon of drinking water.

IRWD’s Energy Storage Project is a public-private partnership that saves money, promotes energy reliability, and supports a sustainable approach to energy use and water delivery in Orange County. This year IRWD completed installation of a 6.5 MW/35.7 MWh network of Tesla batteries at six of its largest and most energy-intensive facilities, including the Michelson Water Recycling Plant. The project helps stabilize and balance demand on the strapped Southern California electrical grid, and reduces the threat of outages at District facilities and throughout the community.