To RICWA Members,
“As I begin my second year as your association President, I thank you for your continued support and look forward to representing all of you as the President of the Rhode Island Clean Water Association in the upcoming year.”
Since 1952, the name of this association has been called the Narragansett Water Pollution Control Association (NWPCA). We are an affiliated state association of the New England Water Environment Association (NEWEA) International Water Environment Federation (WEF).In order to reflect our mind set with the environment on clean water, we, as a Board, proposed to the members that the name of the association be changed to the Rhode Island Clean Water Association (RICWA), which was approved by the members. As of January 1, 2020, we are officially called the Rhode Island Clean Water Association (RICWA).
RICWA is organized exclusively for charitable, educational and scientific purposes for Rhode Island’s wastewater personnel. To promote the advancement of knowledge concerning the nature, collection, treatment, and disposal of domestic and industrial wastewaters; to promote the friendly exchange of information and experience of mutual interest among its members and other interested persons; to promote the improvement in the status of personnel engaged in the collection and treatment of wastewater; and for promotion of good public relations and sound legislation relating to the collection and treatment of wastewater.
I would like to start off by saying that this Board is extremely proud of its members and all in the wastewater profession who has worked through and continue to work through this pandemic in order to comply with their permit requirements to ensure clean water is being discharged, which meant having to physically go to work every day. We salute you!
As everyone is aware, 2020 was a year we like to forget due to the horrendous pandemic. We started off the year by attending NEWEA’s annual conference in Boston in January, and we sent fifteen (15) of our members to attend the Operator’s Training Day where they attended technical sessions, visited vendors and engineering firms at their booths, and did some networking at the same time. It was definitely a fantastic event for all who attended. In addition, Rhode Island was well represented with various NEWEA, WEF and EPA awards…including our very own Operators Challenge Team!
Towards the end of 2020, the Board decided to hold two training sessions that was presented in a virtual format, which one was the Introduction to the Biological Reactor in a Wastewater Treatment Facility, other one was Practical Methods for Operation of Analytical Measurements in a Wastewater and Drinking Water Facility. Being our first virtual training sessions, both of them went off without any technical difficulties…thanks to our Training Chair Nora Lough rest of the Committee. Speaking of training, RICWA will now take over the Grade 1 Certification Exam Preparation classes, and a special thanks to Ed Davies, who is our new NEWEA State Director for the association, for taking this class over in order to get newly employed wastewater personnel their license. All training classes are submitted to the RIDEM Certification Board for approval. Please keep an eye out for e-mails sent to our members and go on our web site for all training that will be offered in 2021.
The Board also decided to go through with the Awards Banquet, minus the banquet due to the pandemic. The awards were for the 2019 calendar year because we wanted to continue to recognize those who worked very hard and should be rewarded. We are in the process of presenting the awards to various plants and individuals by March of this year. Congratulations to all recipients!
In the continuation of recognizing Rhode Island’s high school and college students, we awarded scholarships to four well deserving students, and you can see who they are on our web site at https://ricwa.org/membership/scholarships/.
The Board is now looking forward to 2021 with the hopes that this new vaccine being distributed will end the pandemic or bring it down to the point where everyone can feel safe enough to start the in person social gathering…however, time will tell. In looking out for our fellow wastewater workers, we submitted letters to the Governor, RIDOH, and our state Senators and Congressman back in December requesting that as the state develops plans for distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, we requested that all essential utility staff members (wastewater and water personnel) be given priority for the vaccine in Phase 1-B. However, the state is still in the process of finalizing the populations and population prioritizations. To view RIDOH latest vaccine information, please click on the following link: https://covid.ri.gov/vaccination.
We are continuing to monitor this pandemic to see when in person social gatherings can take place, however, we do plan on having some indoor events by following the strict CDC COVID-19 Guidelines. For all upcoming events, please go to our web site at https://ricwa.org/training-events/. On February 25th, we will be presenting our annual Clean Water Legislative Event in a virtual format, and if you don’t get a chance to see it live, we will be posting it on our web site for your viewing pleasure. Currently, all of our monthly meetings are being held in a virtual format. We encourage all of our members to go onto our web site and take a look at it as we continue to update it…or as we say, a work in progress! If you wish to drop us a line, please go to our web site at https://ricwa.org/contact/ because we like to hear from you on any thoughts, ideas or training topics you like to see us provide.
Like every year, the continuous support from our members, from the wastewater personnel, vendors, consultants, and others help us maintain the high level of standard that we set in order to make sure that you get something out of this association.
On behalf of the entire Board, we look forward to a better and pandemic free year and hope to see all of you eventually interacting during our events and training sessions throughout the year.
Peter J. Connell