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~Four recipients are recognized for distinction in drinking water and wastewater plant management~

OCALA The Florida Department of Environmental Protection today presented the 2013 Plant Operations Excellence Awards to four recipients in the Central Florida area at the last of this year’s annual “Focus on Change” Seminars.

“Today’s Plant Excellence Award recipients are prime examples of the hard work and dedication of wastewater and drinking water facilities throughout Florida, and represent the best water treatment and conservation solutions the state has to offer,” Division of Water Resource Management Director Mark Thomasson told approximately 360 seminar participants. ”We are proud of this longstanding tradition to promote excellence in plant operations and the environmental protection these awards promote.”

The 2013 Central Florida Drinking Water Facility winners recognized today were:

      City of Leesburg Water Treatment Plant

      City of Clermont Water Treatment Plant

      City of Port Orange Water Treatment Plant

The 2013 Central Florida Wastewater Treatment Facility winner recognized today was:

      City of Eustis Wastewater Treatment Facility

“The Central District is extremely proud of each of these four facilities who are receiving Plant Excellence Awards,” said Jeff Prather, DEP Central District Director. “The commitment to environmental stewardship demonstrated by each of them is commendable. Their dedication to outstanding operational practices combined with implementation of new technologies not only makes our job easier but more importantly, helps protect the environment in our local communities.”

Each year, the Department presents awards to domestic wastewater and drinking water facilities around the state that demonstrate excellence in operation, maintenance, innovative treatment, waste reduction, pollution prevention, recycling or other achievements. These awards are presented to recognize facilities that demonstrate a special commitment to excellence in management through dedicated professionalism.

The Department awarded a total of 22 facilities, including nine domestic wastewater facilities as well as 13 drinking water facilities statewide. The awards were presented at district ceremonies during the additional five “Focus On Change” annual seminars held recently in Lake City, Punta Gorda, Tamarac, Panama City and Haines City.

Facilities go through a rigorous judging process, with every aspect of their operation scrutinized. The facility must maintain an impeccable history of record-keeping compliance. Facility activities, such as malfunctions, maintenance or upgrades must all be documented and demonstrable to Department environmental specialists during unannounced inspection visits throughout the year. Facility upkeep is paramount, as well as making sure facility personnel have all of the proper, up-to-date certifications and training on the latest water monitoring rules and techniques.

Wastewater facilities have the opportunity to provide evidence of innovative solutions to water conservation problems, suggest improvements to the maintenance process or highlight unique areas in which they may excel.

Drinking water facilities are required to have a spotless record of monthly bacteriological reports, having at no point breached upper limits of any potential contaminants. In addition, each facility must keep constant record of the number of days and length of hours spent at the facility. Drinking water plants are also afforded the opportunity to display areas of expertise and innovation, such as alternating flow patterns to allow storage tanks to be cleaned and inspected more frequently.

This is the 24th year that the Florida Rural Water Association has presented the “Focus on Change” Seminar in conjunction with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The sessions are designed to provide the most current regulatory information available to utilities in order to improve compliance.