Eastern Municipal Water District and its Board of Directors will present its 2012 Water Champion Award to California State Sen. Bill Emmerson, R-Hemet, in honor of his ongoing work in protecting water quality and in appreciation of two recent pieces of legislation he authored that are designed to prevent metal thefts.
The award is presented to an individual who shows exemplary service in helping EMWD achieve its mission of providing clean, reliable water and wastewater management services for residents in Western Riverside County.
Sen. Emmerson recently authored and helped lead to the passage of Senate Bill 1045, which holds junk dealers and scrap metal recyclers civilly liable for damages resulting from the theft of fire hydrants, backflow devices and manhole covers. Any scrap metal recycler that purchases one of these devices can be held liable for up to three times the amount of the cost to replace the device.
Senate Bill 1045 was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on Sept. 19.
The bill is a companion to Senate Bill 1387, also authored by Sen. Emmerson and proposed by EMWD. SB 1387 has passed through the state senate and is awaiting a signature from Gov. Brown that will sign it into law.
If enacted, SB 1387 would prohibit junk dealers and scrap metal recyclers from purchasing manhole covers, backflow devices and fire hydrants unless the item were accompanied by written documentation from the agency that allows for the selling of the item.
During the 2011-12 fiscal year, EMWD spent more than $200,000 replacing . Sen. Emmerson’s bill is expected to curb the growing trend of metal thefts, allowing agencies and ratepayers statewide to avoid thousands of dollars in replacement costs annually.
“When it came time to select the recipient of this award, there was little doubt that Sen. Emmerson was the obvious choice,” EMWD Board President Joe Kuebler said. “His work in helping to protect water quality and safety for residents throughout both Riverside County and the State of California speaks for itself.
“With Sen. Emmerson’s full support, ratepayers throughout California will not have the cost of theft passed along to them in their water bills. The legislation that he has authored will undoubtedly curb the recent rise in metal thefts and hold accountable those who seek to break the law for their own monetary gain. Sen. Emmerson’s work personifies what this award is about.”
In addition to his tireless work in authoring these two crucial pieces of legislation, Sen. Emmerson has long been a champion of water quality and has been vocal in his support of strict water quality standards and has been a proponent of protecting the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
Sen. Emmerson was first elected to the California State Senate in 2010 and previously served for six years in the California State Legislature. He is Vice Chair of the Budget and Fiscal Review Committee and serves on the Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee.
The award will be presented at EMWD’s Wednesday, Oct. 3 board meeting. That meeting will begin at 9 a.m. in the district’s board room, located at 2270 Trumble Road, Perris.
—News Release from EMWD