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U.S. EPA presents prestigious national award to a Bay Area sanitary district; Central Contra Costa Sanitary District selected from 1,500 nationwide

Release Date: 11/3/2005
Contact Information: Mark Merchant, (415) 947-4297

SAN FRANCISCO -- The sanitary district that serves much of Contra Costa County was presented with a first-place National Clean Water Act Recognition award today for its outstanding and innovative achievements in wastewater treatment and pollution prevention.

Alexis Strauss, the director of the EPAs water division for the Pacific Southwest region, presented the national award to Barbara Hockett, the district's Board President, during a board meeting in Martinez.

"We're honored to receive this award from the EPA," Hockett said. "Central San regards promoting pollution prevention as one of its highest priorities. We continue to achieve great success because our staff engages the community in various activities that help educate the public and acknowledge their success. A direct result of this is the reduction of pollutants from our industrial and commercial dischargers. Our efforts seem to pay off in reducing pollutants and improving our water quality. We're happy to know that together with our customers in the communities we serve, we're reducing the toxic pollutants entering the water environment."

"This award is significant and well-deserved national recognition of the district's work to reduce the amount of pollutants from industry and businesses that enter San Francisco Bay," Strauss said. "Central Contra Costa Sanitary District's work encouraging pollution prevention and promoting technology will have far-reaching impacts on resource conservation in the Bay Area and across the nation."

At the award presentation, Strauss was joined by officials from the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board.

"The water board congratulates the district on receiving its fourth national pretreatment award," said board Executive Officer Bruce Wolfe. "We commend the district for its leadership and continued commitment to reducing toxic pollutant discharges to San Francisco Bay."

Central Contra Costa Sanitary District has been a national leader in adopting innovative strategies to protect the environment and to encourage pollution prevention. In 2003, the district received a first place award for the creative and cost-effective operation of their wastewater treatment plant in Martinez. In 1997, the district's treatment plant was the first plant in California to replace their chlorine gas disinfection system with a non-chemical, ultraviolet light process. Since that time, other plants nationwide have followed their lead.

The district also converts gaseous waste products from a local landfill into electricity to run the treatment plant, a step that has saved the district over one million dollars per year. In addition, the district has been a leader by volunteering to conduct household hazardous waste collection for the community. Last year, the district collected approximately 1.3 million pounds of household hazardous waste from local residents.