PROVIDENCE-The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management announced today a team of Rhode Island-based wastewater treatment operators has won the regional "Operator Challenge" contest. The challenge - which tests operators' knowledge and instinct in wastewater collection and treatment - was held during the New England Water Environment Association's annual conference earlier this month.
"Congratulations to the Ocean State Alliance Team on this victory," said DEM Director Janet Coit. "Every day, some 120 million gallons of raw sewage are produced in our cities and towns. The work these operators do behind the scenes to properly collect and treat it is vital to the health of our families, waters, and state. I am proud of the professional workforce we have in Rhode Island doing this often thankless work. Kudos on a job well done, team!"
The Ocean State Alliance team includes Captain Vinnie Russo, Jr. and Ed Davies of the Narragansett Bay Commission (NBC) Fields Point Wastewater Treatment Facility, and Ryan Patnode and Sam Sullivan of the West Warwick Wastewater Treatment Facility. Coached by Mike Spring of NBC, the team was sponsored by the Narragansett Water Pollution Control Association. Both Ryan Patnode and Mike Spring participated in DEM's popular Wastewater Management Boot Camp - a first-of-its-kind training program for treatment plant operators. Rhode Island's boot camp is now a national model, adapted by several states across the country.
In addition to achieving a first place overall finish for New England, the Ocean State Alliance team scored first place in the lab and maintenance/pump repair category; second place in safety; and third place in process control and collection system/pipe repair. The first place finish has qualified the team to participate in the national competition this fall in New Orleans.
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