Utility Department honored

Historic City News learned from Bill Young last week that the St. Johns County Utility Department has been recognized with two national and regional level awards.

First, the St. Johns County Utilities Pretreatment Program was selected as the 1st place winner of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (US EPA) 2008 National Clean Water Act Recognition Award, and secondly the Utility Department is the recipient of the Regional Award in Excellence in Environmental Stewardship from the Northeast Florida Regional Council.

The US EPA award was based on the Utility Department’s “creative and outstanding Pretreatment Program Excellence” practices and will formally be presented to St. Johns County at the December 2nd County Commission Meeting. The Department qualified for the US EPA award by demonstrating its innovative pollution control solutions. These include programs such as permitting and monitoring plans, the low number of violations under the pretreatment program and the lack of system overflows. The Department’s communication skills, education programs, Enforcement Response Plan and Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan Team were also recognized.

In addition to the national recognition of the US EPA award, the Utility Department is also being honored with the Northeast Florida Regional Council’s (NEFRC) Award for Excellence in Environmental Stewardship. This award will be presented this evening, November 20, during the NEFRC Regional Leadership Awards Ceremony at the St. Johns County Convention Center at World Golf Village.

The NEFRC Excellence in Environmental Stewardship award recognizes the organization for its focus on long-term protection, conservation and enhancement of the region’s natural resources, as well as their work to foster environmental stewardship through demonstrated leadership and the promotion of environmental awareness.

The Utility Department demonstrated their commitment to protection and enhancement of natural resources with the following examples:

· The 2007 completion of a state-of-the-art reverse osmosis water treatment plant, processing up to 8 million gallons-per-day to supply drinking water to its rapidly expanding service area.

· Recognized leadership in the provision of reclaimed water, including supplying reclaimed water to several area golf courses.

· The development and implementation of a model conservation rate structure that rewards conservation and discourages overuse or misuse of a valuable natural asset.

· The new state-of-the-art Utility Administration facility which is built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards and further illustrates commitment to the environment.

Utility Director Bill Young is proud of the Department’s success and appreciates the support of the Board of County Commissioners to achieve these milestones. “These awards are a reflection of the collective commitment and dedication of our Commission and our employees,” he said. “The utility’s success is based on the fundamental principles of customer service, financial strength and environmental stewardship. It is extremely rewarding to have our commitment to the environment recognized by our peers at both the national level and within the Northeast Florida region.”

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