Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Press Release of the Week: DEP Boot Camp

This is what sewage plant workers must "voluntarily go through today. Be gentle on Jimmy Pynn! He bruises easily.

Environmental Protection Commissioner Cas Holloway today kicked off the 24th Annual Operations Challenge competition, a test of skill and speed for teams of sewage treatment workers who compete in timed events for the chance to represent DEP at the New York State and national competitions that take place later this year. Four DEP teams will compete in various tasks, including fixing a pipe, repairing a pump, and rescuing an injured employee. The two winning teams will represent New York City at the State competition to be held in May at Lake George. This year’s morning-long event was held at the Owls Head Wastewater Treatment Plant in Brooklyn, and is sponsored by DEP and the Water Environment Federation.

This year’s four competing teams—the Sludge Fellas, the Tide Surfers, the Unknowns, and the Turtle Surfers—hail from the Owls Head, Tallman Island and North River wastewater treatment plants. Each team will compete in five timed events, including:

· Collections: Teams respond to a leaking pipe and repair it while it remains in service.

· Water Quality Testing: Teams perform tests to determine the pollution level in water to see if it meets discharge standards.

· Maintenance: Contestants remove submersible equipment, make the necessary repairs and return it to service.

· Waste Treatment Process: Teams answer multiple choice questions to demonstrate their knowledge of the wastewater treatment process.

· Worker Safety: Teams rescue a dummy in a confined space while checking air quality using safety devices and perform CPR.

The Operations Challenge is an excellent opportunity to showcase safety and training skills while recognizing the work of wastewater treatment operators. The two highest scoring teams will go on to compete in the statewide competition in May. From there, winners of the statewide contest will participate in a national competition in Los Angeles. The Operations Challenge was developed by the Water Environment Federation, the largest professional organization representing the wastewater treatment industry. The event at the Owls Head Wastewater Treatment Plant is sponsored by a local chapter of the organization in conjunction with DEP, which has participated in the Operations Challenge since 1987. A team from DEP has made it to the national competition for 15 straight years

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