President's Message

As I recommence into my 4th year as your association President, I (again) thank you
for your support and look forward to representing all of you as the
President of the Rhode Island Clean Water Association in 2023.


As I recommence into my 4th year as your association President, I (again) thank you for your support and look forward to representing all of you as the President of the Rhode Island Clean Water Association in 2023.

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) and the 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).

I would like to provide an update of this association in 2023.

For the NEWEA Boston Annual Meeting and Exhibition, RI was well represented with awards. Dylan Chase (RI NEWEA Operator Award), Peter Hassel (Alfred E. Peloquin Award), Kim Sandbach (WEF-Laboratory Analyst Excellence Award), Ed Davies (WEF - Bobby Williams Competitive Spirit Award), and Kathy Perez (WEF Quarter Century Operator’s Club). RICWA sponsored ten operators to attend the Operator’s Day, and this association is looking forward to our own Scott Goodinson in becoming the NEWEA President in 2024!

Our next event was the 11th annual Clean Water Legislative Event that was held at the RI State House on February 7th, and we give special thanks to Janine Burke-Wells for being the Chair. We also like to thank NEWEA and NEIWPCC for co-sponsoring this event as well. The Honorable Representative K. Joseph Shekarchi, Speaker of the House, provided opening remarks along with Senator Jack Reed and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse via video. We also thank Representative Tom Norey and Camille Vella-Wilkinson for sponsoring the event for us at the State House. At this event, we had the following panel discuss the “Water Utilities of the Future” in a question-and-answer format: Terry Gray, Director of RIDEM, Jeffrey Diehl, Executive Director & CEO of RI Infrastructure Bank, Laurie Horridge, Executive Director of NBC, Representative Lauren Carson, District 75, Newport, Senator Alana DiMario, District 36, North Kingston, Narragansett & New Shoreham, and Topher Hamblett, Director of Advocacy at Save the Bay. We covered a wide range of topics from resilience and climate change, planning, labor issues, biosolids, and renewable energy. The association appreciates all of them taking the time out of their busy schedules to participate in this great event. Lastly, RICWA has created the Clean Water Legislator of the Year Award to recognize all the hard work involved in getting substantial, effective legislation enacted in support of the water environment. This year’s recipient was Representative David A. Bennett, District 20, Chair of the House Environment and Natural Resources Committee. Congratulations!

In April, RICWA sponsored Open Houses at the following WWTF: NBC Field’s Point, Veolia - East Providence, Quonset Development Corporation, Warwick Sewer Authority, and Westerly WWTF operated by Jacobs. We thank all the staffs at each facility for taking the time to provide the town, and they were all well represented.

In May, we held our annual Awards Banquet at the Cranston Country Club, and this is one of our favorite events because it gives us the opportunity to recognize all of the hard work our members do day in and day out. Our guest speaker was Joseph Haberek, RIDEM. The association was please to hand out the most awards it has ever presented. There was a total of eight (8) Platinum Awards, six (6) Gold Awards, and two (2) Silver Awards, eight (8) individual awards, and three (3) Life Time Member Awards. Other recognition went to three EPA awards: Ed Davies – Trainer of the Year Award, Adam Federau – Plant Operator of the Year Awards, and East Greenwich WWTF – Treatment Plant Excellence Award. Please go on our web site for the list of award recipients.

The 2023 Ops Challenge Team consists of Ed Davies, Courtney Iawa-Savage, Dave Bruno, Max Maher, Rob Norton, and Shaun Collum. At the joint NEWEA-NYWEA Spring Meeting and Exhibition at the in Syracuse, NY, our RI Ops Challenge Team, “RISING SLUDGE” did an excellent job in the Ops Challenge competition. They earned 1st place in the process control, 1st place in the laboratory analysis, 4th place in safety, 5th place in pump maintenance, and 3rd place in collections. JOB WELL DONE! Their strong performance and second place finish overall for New England has afforded them an invitation to compete at the national competition for the 8th straight year, during the WEFTEC 2023 Conference, which is going to be held in Chicago from September 30th – October 4th. We are currently looking for sponsorships to support our team, and if you wish to contribute, please use this link: https://ricwa.org/ops-challenge/. If you have any questions regarding our Ops Challenge events or fund raising, please contact Ed Davies at [email protected].

Our 19th Annual Golf Outing was held on June 19th at the Potowomut Golf Club, and it was well attended this year. A big thank you to our members, committee, and volunteers, along with everyone at the golf club, who all made it another great and well attended event. The proceeds will be going to six Scholarship recipients, web site upgrade (currently in progress), and other needs towards the association.

Our Annual Chowder Cook-Off is scheduled to be on Thursday, August 10th at Fort Getty in Jamestown, which is another great ocean view location. We will be having a BBQ and anyone who attends will be eligible to sign up for the Chowder cook-off to see who wins the best “Chowda”! If you wish to attend, please contact either Kim Sandbach, [email protected], or Scott Goodinson, [email protected].

The Trade Show & Luncheon will be held on Friday, September 8th at the Crowne Plaza Providence in Warwick. The exhibit area will be open starting at 9:00am and stay open until 1:00pm. Between 1:00pm and 3:00pm will be the lunch where we will be handing out this year’s scholarship recipients and raffle prizes. Last year’s event was extremely successful and very well attended, and we hope to see all of you again so that the exhibitors will have the opportunity to showcase their latest products and services. In addition to this year’s event, RIDEM will be hosting their Superintendent’s meeting, NEWEA will be hosting their Executive Committee meeting, the Ops Challenge Team will be providing a demonstration of what they do at competition events and you’ll have an opportunity to perform the same activity, a corn hole event will take place, training, and most of all, you’ll have the opportunity to network with all who attends this great event. For anyone who’s interested in attending or to register for a booth, please contact either Kim Sandbach, [email protected], or Jeff Chapdelaine, [email protected]. You may also click on this link: https://ricwa.org/event/annual-tradeshow/. We hope to see all of you there!


During the week of the Trade Show, RICWA will partner with the Connecticut Water Environment Association (CTWEA) for the Operator Exchange program, and we will be welcoming Graydon Stewart who is an Operator in Training III working at the Farmington Water Pollution Control Facility. He will be escorted by a Board member to visit seven of RI’s wastewater plants to see how each plant performs their operation to treat water.

RICWA continues to offer the Grade 1 Certification Exam Preparation classes, and a special thanks to Ed Davies, who is our NEWEA State Director for the association, for offering this class for newly employed wastewater personnel to earn their license. All other 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 2023.

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/ because we like to hear from you on any thoughts, ideas, or training topics you like to see us provide.

We are hoping to provide additional training classes between now and the end of the year. The last event will be our annual Holiday Party, which will be on Friday, December 1st (location TBD). If you have any questions on this event, please contact either Eli Hannon at [email protected] or Kim Sandbach at [email protected]. In addition to celebrating, we will hold elections and vote on changes to our by-laws. If you are interested in running for a Board position, please contact Scott Goodinson at [email protected].

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 to make sure that you get something out of this association, and we THANK all of you!

If you wish to become a member of the RICWA, please click on this link: https://ricwa.org/membership/.

On behalf of the entire Board, we look forward to seeing all of you interacting during our events and training sessions throughout 2023.


Peter J. Connell

Giving Back to the Environment

Established in 1952, the Rhode Island Clean Water Association (RICWA), formerly the Narragansett Water Pollution Control Association (NWPCA), is a non-profit organization created to promote the advancement of knowledge concerning the nature, collection, treatment, and disposal of domestic and industrial wastewaters.

Rhode Island Clean Water Association

P.O. Box 8805

Cranston, RI 02920