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EPA Grant Helps Youth Learn Environmental Skills at Lowell, Mass. Water Treatment Plant

Release Date: 08/13/2013
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – Aug. 13, 2013) – Through a grant from the EPA, the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC) oversees a program at the Lowell, Mass. Regional Wastewater Utility that has been taking place for 22 out of the past 24 summers.

Since its inception in 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. In addition, 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 have become familiar with potential hazards as they relate to environmental management, treatment and pumping, and water quality monitoring. These students also participated in field trips related to science and water quality, along with college career counseling. The efforts of Mark Young, Executive Director of the Lowell Regional Wastewater Utility and his entire staff, City Manager Bernie Lynch, and the staff at the Lowell Career Center have been unwavering as they continue to devote a significant amount of time and effort to work with these students and support this valuable program.

“We have been fortunate to work with outstanding organizations like NEIWPCC, the Lowell Regional Wastewater Utility and the Career Center of Lowell to have summer environment-related job programs targeting economically disadvantaged youth,” said Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “EPA’s Youth and Environment Program helps these students understand the importance of water quality and environmental protection, and it gives them an introduction to a possible career helping their community.”

A ceremony recognizing the efforts of these students and their mentors will be held at the Lowell Regional Wastewater Utility on Aug. 14.

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