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EPA Teams Up With New York City, Bronx Community College To Help Educate Inner-City Kids

Release Date: 08/18/1999
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(#99136) New York, New York -- Ten High School students from Hunts Point, Bronx and West Harlem now know the meaning of the phrase, "roll up your sleeves." They celebrated this new found knowledge today during a recognition ceremony held at Bronx Community College. They just finished a stint at two area sewage treatment plants, the Hunts Point and North River plants in New York City. For the past seven weeks, the students have studied the ins and outs of running a large sewage plant. This learning experience was distinctly different from the normal classroom studies in two very important ways -- they worked hands-on at the plants and they got paid. The program is a cooperative effort, managed by the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC) Environmental Training Center and sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Bronx Community College and New York City's Office of Employment and Training.

"This program has a little of everything," said William J. Muszynski, EPA Deputy Regional Administrator. "They learned about one of the most challenging environmental problems faced by any city what to do with the millions of gallons of human waste we generate each day. They also were able to develop job skills and get a real appreciation for the hard-working men and women that run this critical part of the New York City's infrastructure."

DEP Commissioner Joel A. Miele Sr., P.E. said, "I am proud that two of New York City's water pollution control plants were part of this educational experience for the City's youth. Opportunities like these not only encourage students to explore new interests and consider new career options, but also foster an awareness of the City's vast infrastructure that protects and enhances our overall environmental quality of life."

Under the program, the students assisted plant personnel in day-to-day plant operations, including the updating of each plant's inventory controls, recording operation data, equipment maintenance, and special projects. They each worked six hours per day, four days a week, for seven weeks. Each plant had a youth coordinator (Environmental Technology program students from Bronx Community College) who managed the day-to-day aspects of the program and had overall responsibility for the participating students. Every Wednesday, the students attended computer classes at the Taft High School in the Bronx.

For more information contact:
Mary Helen Cervantes-Gross, Press Office
EPA Region 2
290 Broadway
NY, NY 10007-1866
Voice: 212-637-3673 FAX: 212-637-4445 E-Mail: