New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner John P. Cahill announced the winners of the third annual DEC Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Excellence awards for Municipal wastewater treatment plants. Among the facilities honored was the Oyster Bay Sewer District.The awards honor wastewater treatment facilities that implement innovative and outstanding operations, and maintenance and management programs that result in high levels of continued performance and efficiency.Municipal wastewater treatment facilities are the backbone of New York's water quality protection efforts, and these awards recognize municipalities that have gone the extra mile to protect the water quality of this state, commissioner Cahill said. These awards also recognize the staffs at wastewater treatment facilities for their fine work and dedication to protecting public health, environment, and the publics investment.Friends of the Bay Executive director Denise Woodin said, "we are glad to see that the Oyster Bay Sewer District has made significant progress in improving their operations. This indicates that the sewer district and friends of the bay are now moving in the same direction toward reducing nitrogen, and keeping the bay healthy."DEC officials presented the Oyster Bay Sewer District's award at a ceremony on Monday, June 14, at the sewer districts plant at 15 Bay Avenue, Oyster Bay.Winners were selected in categories based upon their size and degree of wastewater treatment they provide. Facilities eligible for one of the small categories process one million to ten million gallons per day; and those in the large category process more then ten million gallons per day.Facilities that provide secondary treatment are permitted to have a 30- day average of 30 milligrams per liter of Biochemical Oxygen Demand and Total Suspended Solids in their treated waste water and must remove at least 85 percent of those substances. Advanced waste water treatment systems provide a higher degree of treatment than secondary systems. The Oyster Bay Sewer District was chosen as the winner in the medium Advanced category.Any publicly owned wastewater treatment plant in New York State is eligible to be considered for the O&M Excellence Awards Program. Winning entries from State awards program are forwarded to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for consideration in it's national awards program.Under the state awards program, which is modeled after the federal program, a committee of DEC Water Division staff judges selected winning facilities based upon their outstanding wastewater treatment performance, innovation and management efforts that resulted in high levels of regulatory compliance. Municipal treatment plants submitted award applications to DEC in March , including copies of their regulatory permits and descriptions of their facility operations, staffing, cash flow and physical plant layout. Treated wastewater quality award for all winners were for exceeding regulatory standards during 1998.

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