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Grant Funds Help Youth Learn Environmental Skills at Lowell, Mass. Water Treatment Plant

Release Date: 08/26/2014
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

Boston – EPA grant funding has helped facilitate the opportunity for five area youths to learn critical environmental protection techniques at the Lowell, Mass. Regional Wastewater Utility. The program has occurred for 23 out of the past 25 summers. Using the EPA grant of $43,000, part of which is used for this summer educational opportunity, the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC) oversees the program.

Since 1990, EPA’s Youth and the Environment Program has focused on introducing economically disadvantaged inner city youth to career opportunities in the environmental field. The program promotes environmental education and provides high school students with increased awareness of protecting the environment and water quality within their own communities.

At the Lowell Regional Wastewater Utility this summer, five local high school students work at several “stations” (e.g. laboratory, pretreatment, maintenance, process control, etc.) on a rotational basis so that they are exposed to some of the many facets involved with the proper operation of a wastewater treatment plant on an everyday basis. The program has provided the students with an understanding of chemical risks, minimizing the use of toxic substances, public health threats, and proper safety procedures working at a wastewater treatment plant and within the collection system. Students become familiar with potential hazards as they relate to environmental management, treatment and pumping, and water quality monitoring. The students also participate in field trips related to science and water quality, along with college career counseling.

“EPA is very gratified to work so closely for so long with NEIWPCC, the Lowell Regional Wastewater Utility and the Career Center of Lowell to make this summer job program available for economically disadvantaged youth,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “This innovative program helps introduce young people to a possible career path that is also a great benefit to their local community.”

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