LWA news

LWA Groundwater Division Achieves Five Approved GSPs


We are pleased to announce that our team at LWA has successfully led the approval of five Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs).

This significant accomplishment is a testament to the dedication, expertise, and hard work of our groundwater team. Their tireless efforts have played a pivotal role in ensuring the sustainable management of groundwater resources in our region.

The approval of these GSPs marks a crucial milestone in our commitment to responsible environmental stewardship and underscores our dedication to ensuring the long-term viability of groundwater supplies for current and future generations.

We would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to the entire groundwater team for their outstanding achievement.

Larry Walker Associates' work along the Cosumnes River Highlighted in New York Times


LWA’s work along the Cosumnes River is featured in a recent New York Times article, here.

LWA's Committment to our Clients and Staff in Response to Covid-19

March 23, 2020

Colleagues, Partners and Clients,

As the community response to COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) continues to develop, Larry Walker Associates (LWA) is monitoring the various issues and directives throughout the state such as school closures, public agency minimization to essential services, and “safer at home” directives to ensure that we remain sensitive and responsive to our clients’ and colleagues’ needs and projects during this dynamic and uncertain time.

LWA staff are well set up to work remotely from home so that we remain available in a manner that is consistent with the guidelines issued by the State of California and Public Health Officers.  We have multiple IT tools in place to maintain communication and we can provide support to clients needing to hold meetings remotely (via GoToMeeting).

All staff are available via email and telephone.  Our office phone lines are being answered during regular business hours and can be transferred to staff working remotely.  Additionally, staff are notified of and can access voicemails remotely.

All staff are continuing to work towards the deadlines that have been established and will be in contact with clients and colleagues as needed. In addition, staff that are supporting ongoing projects associated with ‘essential business’ as identified in the “safer at home” directives and the recent communications from the State and Regional Water Boards (e.g., wastewater treatment plants, refineries, agricultural facilities, compliance activities) will communicate with clients to determine the best approach moving forward, especially as they relate to work that requires travel.

LWA will continue to communicate as needed to ensure that we support our staff, colleagues, partners, and clients during this unprecedented time.  Please let us know if you need any support or have any questions about upcoming regulatory deadlines or requirements that may be challenging to meet during this time.

As always, please let us know if you have any questions.

Larry Walker Associates Team

Happy 40th LWA!

This year, LWA is celebrating 40 years of cutting-edge work in water quality management throughout California and beyond. We are grateful to our clients and their dedication to improving water quality and creating a sustainable future. Since 1979, it has been our privilege to lead collaborative efforts that produce innovative solutions to complex watershed challenges. We are proud of 40 years of exceptional LWA staff devoting their expertise to preserve our environment for future generations.

LWA Leads Teams to Develop Groundwater Sustainability Plans in Support of SGMA

January 2019

Starting in 2018, LWA has been leading consultant teams to develop four separate Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) for clients in Northern California to ensure that groundwater is sustainably managed at the local level. Our team has been assisting clients to evaluate the most cost and resource effective plans toward groundwater sustainability, in compliance with Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

LWA’s efforts in support of developing the GSPs by January 2022 include: program management and client coordination; facilitation and outreach; analysis of existing data and evaluation of enhancements to the data collection network; supporting the Groundwater Sustainability Agencies with  application for Technical Support Services at DWR; evaluation and improvement of existing, or development of new, groundwater numerical flow models and water budget; coordination with neighboring subbasins and parallel efforts; development of sustainability goals, measurable objectives and management scenarios; and development of implementation plans.

Happy Holidays from LWA!

January 2019

To Our Valued Clients and Colleagues:

As LWA enters our 40th year, we would like to share our reflections on the history of LWA and our vision for the future. As most of you know, Ashli Desai was promoted to President of LWA at the start of 2018. In new roles directly supporting Ashli’s leadership are Tom Grovhoug, Senior Executive, and Brian Laurenson, Executive Vice President. Ashli and the LWA team will continue to expand our leadership in California water resource management by integrating environmental stewardship, sound science, effective public policy, and collaborative problem solving to meet the needs of our clients and communities.

The transition of leadership gave LWA an opportunity to look forward and think about how best to serve our clients into the future while maintaining continuity on the services that we currently provide.  We are at a unique point in time with many opportunities for innovation in how we manage and regulate California’s water resources.  Increasing demands on water supplies have shifted the wastewater, stormwater, and agricultural dischargers from addressing a waste to managing a resource.  LWA’s combination of regulatory and technical expertise will help us to support stormwater, wastewater, agricultural, and groundwater clients through these dynamic times.  We look forward to working with all of you in the New Year.

Wishing you all a happy holiday season and best wishes for a healthy and prosperous new year!

LWA Transition 2018

January 2018

Larry Walker Associates is pleased to announce the appointment of Ashli Cooper Desai as President effective January 1, 2018.

Ashli has spent the last 20 years of her professional career invested in the values and goals of LWA, building relationships with clients and the contributing to the field of environmental engineering. Ashli will be the third president in LWA history, taking over for Tom Grovhoug, who has been the LWA president since 2005.  Larry Walker, the founder of the company, was president from 1979 through 2004.

Ashli, a graduate of Stanford University, joined LWA in 1996 and has embraced many leadership roles at LWA.  She opened LWA’s first regional office in Thousand Oaks, CA in 1999 and has successfully expanded LWA’s presence and clientele throughout Southern California.  Ashli is a leader in Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) development and implementation and supports water resource, agricultural, stormwater and wastewater clients throughout California, turning their visions for water quality improvement into actions that comply with regulatory requirements. In her new role as President, Ashli will continue to provide strategic support to clients throughout California and facilitate LWA’s growth as a leader in water resource management integrating environmental stewardship, sound science, effective public policy, and collaborative problem solving.

“I’m excited to take on this leadership role in LWA.  I feel like we are at a unique point in time that I have not witnessed in my career to date where opportunities for innovation in how we manage and regulate California’s water resources.  Increasing demands on water supplies have shifted the wastewater, stormwater, and even agricultural dischargers from addressing a waste to managing a resource.  LWA’s combination of regulatory and technical expertise makes us uniquely qualified to support stormwater, wastewater, agricultural, and groundwater clients through these dynamic times.”

Within LWA, Ashli has set clear goals and expectations for herself and colleagues and modeled the follow through that is expected for every member of the LWA team.

“I believe when leading and motivating people, you have to believe in their ability to succeed, provide them with respect, trust, understanding, and support them to grow. I think to lead, you must understand that everyone is an individual with different perspectives and experiences, be clear about your expectations, and mentor them so they have the tools to be successful. I am committed, as President of LWA, to LWA’s values of excellence, forward thinking, caring, building meaningful relationships, and serving the public good and continuing the great work Tom has done to incorporate them into the business practices and interactions with colleagues and clients.”

Brian Laurenson was appointed to Executive Vice President to support Ashli and lead operations in Northern California. Brian also joined LWA in 1996 and has served as a Vice President in the Davis office since 2011. Brian, a graduate of the University of California at Davis and the University of California at Berkeley is a registered engineer in California and supports stormwater, wastewater, and water resources clients throughout California.

“Ashli and I have worked closely together for more than twenty years. She has the vision, character, and work ethic to lead the LWA team to even greater achievements. We’ve had the unique opportunity to work with and learn from Larry Walker, Mack Walker, and Tom our entire careers. They have been vanguards in the water quality regulatory field statewide from the beginnings of the Clean Water Act and Porter-Cologne, but also strongly supported the compassionate leadership that is a core value of the firm. Ashli, Tom, and our leadership team will continue to lead the firm in this way that best supports our staff and our clients.”

Tom will assume a new role as a Senior Executive.  During his tenure as president, Tom kept LWA at the forefront of the industry, embodied LWA’s values of excellence and caring, and supported a successful transition of LWA from its founder, Larry.  Tom will continue to his work with clients and support Ashli and Brian in their new leadership roles.  LWA is very fortunate that he will continue as a full-time member of the LWA team well into the future.

Trash Amendment 13383 Orders Issued

June 2017

The Amendments to the Water Quality Control Plan for the Ocean Waters of California to Control Trash and Part 1 Trash Provisions of the Water Quality Control Plan for Inland Surface Waters, Enclosed Bays, and Estuaries of California (Trash Amendments) was adopted on April 7, 2015. The Trash Amendments require that the applicable municipal stormwater programs choose either “Track 1” or “Track 2” to comply with the narrative water quality objective for trash.

·  Under Track 1, a municipal stormwater program would install a network of full capture systems (FCS) for all storm drains located in their priority land use areas (defined by the Trash Amendments).

·  Under Track 2, a municipal stormwater program could use a combination of controls (multi-benefit, structural and/or institutional), as long as they can demonstrate that the combination of controls performs as well as Track 1.

In late May and early June 2017, the State Water Quality Control Board (for Phase II programs) and the Regional Water Quality Control Boards (for Phase I programs) issued California Water Code Section 13383 letters requiring the municipal stormwater programs to select either Track 1 or Track 2 as the way in which they will comply with the Trash Amendments. The municipalities have 3 months from issuance to respond to the letter and submit any required information. If Track 2 is selected, the municipality will have an additional 15 months to submit an implementation plan to the applicable Regional Water Quality Control Board.

LWA has been assisting numerous Phase I and Phase II municipal stormwater programs throughout the state conduct the necessary analyses and assessments in preparation for the decision regarding Track 1 or Track 2. The types of analyses that have been conducted include:

·  Identification of Priority Land Uses (PLUs);
·  Planning Level Full Capture System (FCS) Analyses;
·  Development of Trash Generation Rates (TGRs) and Full Capture System Equivalency (FCSE) values;
·  Planning Level Cost Estimates for Track 1/Track 2; and
·  On Land Visual Assessments (OLVA)

LWA Engineer Leads CWEA Committee

May 2016

In May 2016 LWA’s own Alina Constantinescu stepped in as Chair of the Clean Water Environment Association (CWEA) Committee on Pretreatment, Pollution Prevention, and Stormwater (P3S). P3S is a state-wide group promoting professional and technical proficiency in wastewater and stormwater pollution source control. Alina leads a strong team of water environment professionals tasked with organizing year-round trainings on regulatory trends and technological developments, networking events, and an annual conference with over 200 participants. Alina’s involvement in many of LWA’s pretreatment projects has prepared her well for this new leadership role. Congratulations, Alina! LWA is excited to support you in this new position.

LA Regional Board Approves First EWMP

March 2016

Over the course of two years, LWA took the lead in developing the Upper Santa Clara River Enhanced Watershed Management Program (EWMP) collaboratively with other consultants and through a stakeholder process. The stakeholder comment process involved Permittees as well as the Regional Board, United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), citizens, the development community, water providers, Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation Districts, Integrated Regional Water Management Group members and other interested parties. The Los Angeles County MS4 Permit allows Permittees the flexibility to develop Watershed Management Programs or EWMPs to implement the permit requirements on a watershed scale through customized strategies, control measures, and best management practices. The Upper Santa Clara River EWMP was the first EWMP to be approved by the Los Angeles Regional Board.

LWA Successfully Leads North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program NPDES Permitting

February 2016

The North Valley Regional Recycled Water Program (NVRRWP) will provide a new source of water for agricultural customers in the Del Puerto Water District (DPWD). The NPDES permit allows the Cities of Modesto and Turlock to discharge tertiary treated municipal wastewater into the Delta Mendota Canal (DMC). The project increases reliable agricultural water supply in an area with severe pumping restrictions even before the recent drought. LWA prepared the discharge permit application including the Antidegradation Analysis Report and additional analysis of potential water quality impacts, and led the project team through the permitting process with the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board. The NPDES permit was adopted in February 2016 and it is expected that the pipelines and other facilities will be complete by December 2017.

NACWA Releases White Paper on Municipal Agricultural Collaborations

October, 2015

LWA worked with the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), AGree, and the U.S. Water Alliance to prepare the report, Collaborating for Healthy Watersheds: How the Municipal & Agricultural Sectors Are Partnering to Improve Water Quality (www.nacwa.org/mawp). The report was funded through the Targeted Action Fund (TAF) as a collaborative effort between NACWA; AGree, an organization that seeks to drive positive change in the food and agriculture system; and the U.S. Water Alliance, an organization that focuses on breaking down the “silos” between sectors to provide leadership for building a national platform for holistic water policy. The paper features 9 partnership models between municipalities and farmers that are making progress in attaining water quality goals and reducing nutrient pollution in our nation’s surface waters. The highlighted projects are cost-effective alternatives to the traditional approach of building advanced treatment facilities that can create an economic burden to many communities. Municipal-Agriculture collaborations to prevent nutrients and other pollutants from being released into waterways are described for projects around the country (New York, Oregon, Ohio, Wisconsin, California, Illinois, Florida and Texas). In addition to the nine case studies, the report also discusses federal efforts to promote collaboration including USEPA’s Water Quality Trading Policy and the USDA’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) as well as the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP).

LWA Leads Team to Develop Integrated Plan for the City of Santa Maria

August 2014

LWA is working with the City of Santa Maria to develop an Integrated Plan to focus its efforts and resources to effectively address requirements from multiple water resource and water quality regulatory programs. Santa Maria is one of five communities awarded an EPA technical assistance grant to develop an Integrated Plan in 2014. LWA is coordinating a consultant team and working with the City, EPA, the Central Coast Regional Board and other stakeholders to develop a plan that meets the City’s goals and protects the beneficial uses of the Santa Maria Valley watershed and groundwater basin. The Integrated Plan will consolidate, in one place, the City’s water quality requirements and outline the specific and measurable steps the City will take to achieve compliance with those requirements. The Integrated Plan will be developed according to the framework developed by United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and described in the May 2012 memorandum, Integrated Municipal Stormwater and Wastewater Planning Approach Framework (“EPA Framework”).

Calleguas Copper WER is First Water-Effect Ratio in Southern California

September, 2007

As technical consultant to the Calleguas Creek Watershed Management Plan, LWA conducted a water quality study in Mugu Lagoon and Lower Calleguas Creek (in the Calleguas Creek Watershed, Ventura County) to determine a Water-Effect Ratio (WER) for copper using USEPA methods. The WER is used to adjust national copper criteria to local conditions to ensure protection of aquatic life. Based on the WER study results, LWA staff worked with RWQCB staff and stakeholders to adopt copper site-specific objectives into the Los Angeles Region Basin Plan in Fall 2006. The WER was the first ever approved in Los Angeles Region. The new copper objectives based on the WER were approved by the SWRCB in June 2007. A copy of the WER report can be viewed here (pdf).

Ammonia Site-Specific Objective Adopted by Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board

September, 2007

LWA developed and implemented a work plan to develop a water effect ratio (WER) in support of an ammonia site-specific objective (SSO) for 3 major water bodies in Southern California: the Los Angeles River and tributaries, the San Gabriel River and tributaries, and the Santa Clara River. The LWA work effort included WER study design and approval by state and federal regulatory agencies; water quality sampling using USEPA protocols; and analysis of the water quality laboratory data to calculate site-specific objectives. The final SSO report was adopted by the Los Angeles Regional Board staff in June 2007–the first ammonia SSO adopted in California. A copy of the WER report can be viewed here (pdf).

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