Burke represents state on regional water pollution control panel


Sewer Authority Executive Director Janine Burke has been appointed by Governor Lincoln D. Chafee as one of Rhode Island’s representatives to the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC). She attended her first commission meeting last week in Lowell, Mass.

In 1947, Congress established the NEIWPCC, a non-profit, interstate agency whose goal is to use a variety of methods to meet the water-related needs of its member states, which also include Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont. According to the agency, it serves its members through programs that encourage cooperation among the states, developing resources to improve progress on water and wastewater issues, public outreach, environmental training programs and scientific research projects, providing leadership in wastewater management and protection and representing the region in federal policy.

“Not only is Janine very experienced, she is very well respected by her peers for her professionalism and her ability to work collaboratively with others to improve water quality and wastewater treatment processes,” Chafee said in a statement. “She truly understands that the WSA’s work is not just about infrastructure and wastewater – she’s also very aware of the impact their work has on the environment as a whole. She’s enthusiastic about the WSA’s mission and eager to work with residents and the business community to address their concerns and to educate the public about the importance of the WSA’s work for public health and a better environment. I’m very pleased that she accepted the appointment to the commission and I know she’ll do a great job representing Rhode Island.”

“Janine is hardworking, knowledgeable and passionate about her field,” Mayor Scott Avedisian said in a release. “I thank Governor Chafee for appointing Janine to the commission, where I know she will serve the people of our state and the region very well.”

Burke has served as the WSA’s executive director for six years and is responsible for the daily management of the 7.7 million gallon-per-day wastewater treatment facility, including 295 miles of sewers and 48 pumping stations. Prior to that, she served as the West Warwick Sewer Commission’s director of administration/assistant superintendent for a decade and held a variety of positions for the United States Environmental Protection Agency in Boston for a decade before accepting the West Warwick post.

She holds a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from the University of Rhode Island and a Master of Public Administration from Northeastern University, is a licensed wastewater operator and is active in professional associations, including the Narragansett Water Pollution Control Association, and is the state director for the New England Water Environment Association.

Burke is the recipient of the 2011 Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator Excellence Award from the U.S. EPA, the New England Water Environment Association’s 2002 Operator Safety Award and the 2003 James Marvelle Award for leadership excellence from the Narragansett Water Pollution Control Association. During her tenure at the WSA, the organization has received industry awards for excellence, including the 2013 NEWEA Wastewater Utility Award, the Regional EPA Industrial Pretreatment Program Excellence Award, a NEWEA Operator Safety Award, and the Regional EPA Wastewater Treatment Plant Excellence Award. Several employees have been honored individually as well.

The WSA also received the “Local Hero” Award from Save The Bay for their quick response, recovery and restoration efforts following the March 2010 Flood, which destroyed the treatment facility and six pumping stations.


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