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WWTP honored for safety, operations

The Decatur Utilities Dry Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) has been recognized with two prestigious awards – one for safety and one for operational excellence. Water Resources Manager Tom Cleveland and WWTP Superintendent Shannon Bailey presented the awards to employees at a recent WWTP Operations meeting.

The plant received the national 2020 George W. Burke, Jr. Award* from the Water Environment Federation for its outstanding safety program and record. As of August 25, 2021, the WWTP has worked 2,767 consecutive days without an OSHA-recordable safety incident. Bailey said personnel undergo ongoing safety training including chlorine safety, safe operating procedures, defensive driving and maintaining a safe plant work environment.

The plant also received the 2020 Excellence Award from Alabama’s Water Environment Association** for Domestic Wastewater Treatment Plants > Category IV - 10 Million Gallons per Day (MGD). This award is based on an evaluation of the operational practices in place and an inspection of the plants facilities, records, manuals and compliance with its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.

Cleveland said the awards represent the importance DU’s WWTP and Water Resources personnel place on protecting the environment and staying safe. “From our plant operators and maintenance staff to engineers and technicians, this recognition is reflective of a true team effort,” he said.

DU General Manager Ray Hardin echoed those sentiments, stating that he was proud of the team’s accomplishment – especially during the challenges of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “To maintain this level of safety and operational excellence is difficult during the best of times,” he said. “To do so during an ongoing pandemic is an even greater testament to this group’s dedication and determination.”



* The WEF George W. Burke Jr. award was established in 1982 in honor of George W. Burke, Jr., for his many years of service to both the water environment field and WEF as staff manager of technical services. Mr. Burke was instrumental in developing WEF's annual safety survey and assisting in the production of several safety training aids and promotional packets.

** Alabama’s Water Environment Association (AWEA) is a not-for-profit, educational, and technical organization that has been dedicated to preserving, protecting, and managing Alabama’s waters since 1977. AWEA is a state-wide affiliate of the Water Environment Federation.

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