BOSTON – The municipal wastewater treatment facility in Antrim, N.H. was recently selected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for national Operations and Maintenance Excellence Award. The staff of the Antrim Wastewater Treatment Plant was recognized by EPA for their outstanding work in operating and maintaining the facility and their overall commitment to improving water quality. The Antrim plant is among five facilities in New England, and 17 nationwide, recognized for exemplary performance. The N.H. Department of Environmental Services Wastewater Engineering Bureau's Operations Section was also recognized by EPA for providing outstanding on-site technical assistance to wastewater treatment plants throughout the state.
"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." I am also honored to acknowledge the continued outstanding work of the N.H. Department of Environmental Services in providing timely and important on-site technical assistance to help wastewater operators throughout the State of New Hampshire."
The Antrim plant won first place among small secondary plants. The staff at the Antrim facility is being recognized for its Yankee ingenuity for creating an innovative plant and equipment maintenance program. The entire facility has been rebuilt in recent years by the superintendent James Cruthers, resulting in cost savings of about $500,000, with nearly all repair and replacement work having been performed by the superintendent. The pumps have been streamlined to ensure availability and interchangeability of replacement parts, and recent head works were upgraded, saving the town about $250,000. The solids removal levels have improved from about 80 percent to 95 percent in recent years as a direct result of adding an additional "home-made" aeration system to a second lagoon. The entire system was installed by the superintendent at substantial cost savings by using discarded fire hose wrapped around existing flexible hose to prevent future unwanted leaking. The superintendent, with town support, has put in place a financial management program that increased reserves four-fold (up to $100,000) over the past five years.
The annual EPA New England Operations & Maintenance Excellence Awards as well as the national awards were established to recognize the staff of publicly owned wastewater treatment plants for their commitment to improving water quality through not only outstanding and innovative operation and maintenance, but also continued compliance with permit requirements, effective financial management, and on-going operator training. National award winners will be formally acknowledged at this year's Water Environment Federation meeting in Los Angeles in October.