Sewer Authority, Barry O’Brien to be honored


The Warwick Sewer Authority has received the New England Water Environment Association’s (NEWEA) 2013 Wastewater Utility Award and a WSA employee, Barry O’Brien, has been named the 2013 Rhode Island Operator of the Year.

“The hardworking men and women of the Sewer Authority are certainly deserving of this honor,” Mayor Scott Avedisian said in a release. “I have seen firsthand their dedication and professionalism. Their efforts help to safeguard the public’s health and to minimize the impacts of wastewater on the environment. I join Director Janine Burke in congratulating them for this recognition and thank them for their ongoing commitment to Warwick’s residents and the business community.”

“This award is a testament to the work each and every one of the WSA’s employees do to improve WSA operations – from the Board, which provides guidance, direction and makes difficult decisions, to the managers who know the most effective and efficient way to get work done with limited resources, to the front line staff, who are very good at what they do and are always making suggestions for improvement,” Burke said. “It’s an honor to work with such a great group of clean water professionals who are passionate about what they do.”

The NEWEA Utility Management Committee established the award in 2006 for operations and performance excellence and “to acknowledge the outstanding performance of a wastewater division in the New England region,” said NEWEA Executive Director Elizabeth Cutone in a letter announcing the award.

“When I came on to this board in 2007, we were in a time of crisis,” WSA Chairman Aaron Guckian said. “Through the hard work of the Board and its employees, which is being recognized by this regional award, we have righted the ship and are well positioned for going forward into the future.”

The WSA and O’Brien will be honored at the 2014 NEWEA Annual Conference in Boston in January.

This is the latest in a number of awards the WSA has received in recent years. Past honors have included Regional EPA Industrial Pretreatment Program Excellence Award, a NEWEA Operator Safety Award, EPA’s Regional EPA Wastewater Treatment Plant Excellence Award, Save The Bay’s “Local Hero” award, and the Outstanding Operations Award from the Atlantic States Rural Water and Wastewater Association (ASRWWA). Several employees have also been honored individually in the past several years as well.


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