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Warwick, RI Sewer Authority Recognized for Excellence by EPA

Release Date: 01/31/2005
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Contact: Sheryl Rosner, EPA Office of Public Affairs, (617) 918-1865

For Immediate Release: January 31, 2005; Release # sr050107

BOSTON – The Warwick, RI Sewer Authority was one of two New England facilities to receive a Clean Water Act National Recognition Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This award is given for outstanding achievements in the water quality field. The staff and facility were recognized last week during the annual New England Water Environment Association Conference in Boston.

The Warwick Sewer Authority was recognized for its effective public outreach efforts and for successfully integrating its industrial pretreatment program with other municipal programs. This has been accomplished through the dedicated work of its staff - BettyAnne Rossi, industrial pretreatment coordinator; Superintendent Joel Burke, and Juan Mariscal, executive director of the authority.
Through a close partnership with the Warwick Building Department, sewer authority personnel must sign sewer connection fact sheets before building permits are issued. This process helps the authority track new and non-permitted businesses. To establish and maintain industrial user compliance, the sewer authority conducts quarterly samples of all “significant industrial users” and has created a “repeat offender” fine schedule for industries that are not in compliance. Through such efforts, Warwick has seen metal loadings drop by 89 percent.

In addition, pretreatment personnel reach out to Warwick students through educational tours, laboratory demonstrations, and a “Ground Hog Shadowing Day.” The pretreatment program also has an annual scholarship fund for public high school students, and provides free laboratory services for a student science project that documents contaminant trends in the Pawtuxet River.

“The professionals operating these wastewater treatment plants play a crucial role ensuring that our lakes and rivers are protected from unnecessary pollution,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England Office. “The individuals who run these plants, and the municipalities that support them, are key to keeping our environment healthy. I am proud to give Warwick the credit it deserves.”

Warwick Sewer Authority officials were also honored at a national awards ceremony in New Orleans last fall.

The EPA Clean Water Act National Recognition Awards were established to recognize staffs of publicly owned wastewater treatment plants for their commitment to improving water quality not only with outstanding operation and maintenance, but also through a combination of continued permit compliance, effective financial management, and on-going operator training. Often. conscientious operators and staff continue to perform exceptionally with limited resources.

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