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News Release
RI Department of Environmental Management
235 Promenade Street, Providence, RI 02908
(401) 222-2771 TDD/(401) 222-4462

For Release: June 11, 2009
Contact: Gail Mastrati 222-4700 ext. 2402


PROVIDENCE - Five Rhode Island wastewater treatment operators this week won a prestigious contest of wits, strength, speed and endurance designed to test the knowledge and skills needed for wastewater collection and treatment. The victory ranks them the best in New England, and has given them a berth in an upcoming national competition this fall in Orlando. This will be the third consecutive year that the team has made the national competition.

The team, known for its to-the-point name "Fecal Matters", includes Peter Eldridge, Donald Shurtleff and Brian Lavallee of the West Warwick wastewater facility, Scott Goodinson of Veolia Water North America, the contract operator of the Cranston Water Pollution Control Facility, and Charles Labbé of the Warwick Sewer Authority. (*See photo)

Both the regional and national competitions include proficiency testing in water purification process-control strategies, laboratory skills, a fast-paced safety rescue simulation, emergency repairs of a complex pump, and a high-speed sewer-line repair. The challenge events blend the physical and mental skills used daily by wastewater treatment professionals. Every day in Rhode Island, some 100 million gallons of wastewater are treated by treatment plant operators, protecting public health and the environment.

In Tuesday's regional competition, the Rhode Island team came in first in three events, second in one event and third in one event, ranking them first overall. The event was held here in Providence as part of an annual wastewater industry meeting. In June 2008 the "Fecal Matters" team came in first overall in New England, and placed second nationwide in the national collection-system event held in October 2007.

The Rhode Island operator professionals group, The Narragansett Water Pollution Control Association, sponsored the team, with help from local private and public wastewater- treatment organizations. DEM also assisted in training of the five member team. In recent years the Narragansett Water Pollution Control Association has expanded its membership and its abilities to train and build the Rhode Island wastewater operator profession. (Contact information for the Narragansett Water Pollution Control Association is Ms. Janine Burke, the Executive Director of the Warwick Sewer Authority. Director Burke can be reached at 738-0354.)


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