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Orleans, VT Wastewater Treatment Facility Recognized for Excellence

Release Date: 02/09/04
Contact Information: Contact: Peyton Fleming, EPA Press Office, (617) 918-1008 Contact: Larry Austin, Orleans, VT WWTP, 802-754-2150

For Immediate Release: February 9, 2004; Release #04-02-05

BOSTON – The Orleans, VT wastewater treatment facility was recently selected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for a New England Regional Operations and Maintenance Excellence Award in the small advanced plant category. The staff of the facility was recognized by EPA's New England Office for their outstanding work. This plant was among five facilities in New England recognized for exemplary performance.

The Orleans wastewater treatment plant has had a near perfect compliance record over the past four years. The staff has demonstrated a consistently well operated and maintained facility. The plant and its operators were also nominated and received the 2003 Green Mountain Water Environment Association's Excellence Award.

The facility has had excellent process control and permit compliance. When the biological phosphorous removal facility was put into operation in 1997, there was initial difficulty in meeting the effluent phosphorous limit of 1.0 milligrams per litre (mg/L) through biological removal alone. Led by Chief Operator Larry Austin, the staff investigated the problem and was able to address it by designing and building an automated system to bind the phosphorous in the waste sludge, thus minimizing the amount of phosphorous discharged to the Barton River. There were only two effluent violations over the past four years which appears to be attributed to laboratory error. Over the past four years, the effluent's biological oxygen demand and total suspended solids have averaged less than 2 mg/L and not been higher than 5.1 mg/L. The effluent total phosphorous concentration has averaged less than 0.4 mg/L. It would be difficult to find a more consistently excellent operated facility.

"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 for 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 them the credit they deserve."

The EPA Regional Operations & Maintenance (O&M) Excellence Award is established to recognize the staffs of publicly owned wastewater treatment plants for their commitment to improve 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. More often than not and particularly with small facilities, conscientious operators and staff continue to perform exceptionally with limited resources.

The Orleans facility was recognized during the annual New England Water Environment Association Conference held in Boston in January. The facility will also be considered for nomination in the EPA 2004 National Operation and Maintenance Excellence Award process this spring.

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