EPA New England office recognized Jewett City wastewater treatment plant for excellence.

New England EPA Office Recognizes Wastewater Operators, Facilities

The agency presented awards for outstanding service and excellence in wastewater management to Rhode Island superintendents and facilities in Massachusetts, Maine, and Connecticut.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's New England office has recognized two individuals and three facilities for outstanding service and excellence, respectively, in the wastewater treatment field.

Joel Burke, superintendent of the Warwick, R.I., Wastewater Treatment Plant, and Peter Eldridge, superintendent of the West Warwick, R.I. Wastewater Treatment Plant, were given the 2010 Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator Award.

Burke has been with the Warwick Sewer Authority since 1985 and has been serving as the superintendent for more than 20 years. Eldridge has been with the West Warwick Wastewater Treatment Facility for more than 20 years and has been serving as the superintendent for the past three years. During the past year, both superintendents, along with many others in West Warwick and Rhode Island, were instrumental in overseeing the recovery of the entire treatment plant from the devastating spring flood of 2010.

“The professionals managing and operating wastewater treatment plants play a crucial role protecting health in our communities and ensuring that our lakes and rivers are protected from unnecessary pollution,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator for EPA's New England Office.

The awards were presented during the annual New England Water Environment Association Conference at the Boston Copley Marriott Hotel on Jan. 26. Their nominations were highly recommended by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management.

EPA also selected the Montague, Mass. Water Pollution Control Facility, the Bangor, Maine Wastewater Treatment Plant, and the Jewett City, Conn. Wastewater Treatment Facility for Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant Excellence Awards.

The staff of the Montague facility, led by Superintendent Robert Twombley, was recognized for exceptional work in operating and maintaining (O&M) the wastewater treatment plant and its collection system. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection was instrumental in nominating this facility. The facility has been supported by the Town of Montague (Frank Abbondanzio, town administrator, and Patricia Allen, chair of the Board of Selectmen), allowing operators the freedom and flexibility to operate and maintain the plant and collection system to the best of their abilities, EPA said in a press release.

The staff of the Bangor facility, led by Superintendent Bradley Moore, also was recognized for its exceptional O&M work. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection nominated this facility. In addition, the plant has been supported by the City of Bangor (Cathy Conlow, city manager, and James Ring, director of Infrastructure) over the years.

The Jewett City facility staff, led by David Drobiak, superintendent, was recognized for its exceptional O&M work. The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection supported the facility's nomination. EPA also noted ongoing support from the Town of Jewett City and the Department of Public Utilities (Kenneth Sullivan, director).

The agency acknowledged all three facilities for exemplary performance during 2010.

The Excellence Award was established to recognize and honor the employees of publicly owned wastewater treatment plants for their commitment to improving water quality with outstanding plant operations and maintenance and ongoing operator training. More often than not, and particularly with smaller facilities, conscientious operators and staff continue to perform exceptionally with limited resources.