Lowell Wastewater Utility Hosts Summer Youth Program

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Five area youths spent the summer learning about critical environmental protection techniques at the Lowell (Mass.) Regional Wastewater Utility, thanks to EPA grant funding. The program has occurred for 23 of the past 25 summers. The New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission oversees the program, using an EPA grant of $43,000, part of which is used for this summer educational opportunity.

Since 1990, EPA’s Youth and the Environment Program has focused on introducing economically disadvantaged inner city youth to career opportunities in the environmental field. The program promotes environmental education and provides high school students with increased awareness of protecting the environment and water quality within their own communities.

At the Lowell Regional Wastewater Utility this summer, five local high school students worked at several stations — laboratory, pretreatment, maintenance, process control, etc. — on a rotational basis, which exposed them to the proper daily operation of a wastewater treatment plant. The program has provided students with an understanding of chemical risks, minimizing the use of toxic substances, public health threats, and proper safety procedures working at a wastewater treatment plant and within the collection system. Students become familiar with potential hazards as they relate to environmental management, treatment and pumping, and water quality monitoring. The students also participated in field trips related to science and water quality, along with college career counseling.

“EPA is very gratified to work so closely for so long with NEIWPCC, the Lowell Regional Wastewater Utility and the Career Center of Lowell to make this summer job program available for economically disadvantaged youth,” says Curt Spalding, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “This innovative program helps introduce young people to a possible career path that is also a great benefit to their local community.”

For more information on the New England EPA, visit the news and events page


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