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At more than 30 years strong, the nation’s longest-standing public-private partnership for wastewater services in Burlingame, Calif., has won two key safety awards—the "2003 Plant Safety Award" from the California Water Environment Association (CWEA) and the "George W. Burke, Jr. Facility Safety Award" from the Water Environment Association (WEF).
The city of Burlingame-Veolia Water North America partnership was recognized for effective training and employee wellness programs and a perfect 2003 safety record.
This is the eighth time the partnership has won the CWEA award but represents its first Burke award. The Burke award was established in 1998 to honor Burke’s many years of service to the water environment field. The award is presented once a year by state environmental agencies to a facility that has clearly demonstrated an active and effective safety program.
CWEA, a not-for-profit association committed to keeping California's water clean, trains and certifies wastewater professionals and advocates at the local and state level to enhance water environment protection.
"The city of Burlingame puts a high premium on safety, and we are extremely appreciative that Veolia Water’s commitment to safety has earned the Burlingame Wastewater Treatment Plant these two very prestigious awards," said George Bagdon, director of public works in Burlingame. "Veolia Water’s philosophy on safety is in concert with that of the city, and we are most proud of our long-standing successful public-private partnership."
Bill Toci, Veolia Water project manager in Burlingame, said the two awards are important to the Burlingame staff and Veolia Water. "In Burlingame, we are currently overseeing a $10.2 million plant upgrade, and having no lost-time incidents while under construction is an admirable achievement that could not have been accomplished without a dedicated staff. Such awards publicly validate our efforts and reinforce Veolia Water’s company-wide commitment to safety."
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national average for lost-time incident rates (LTIR) at water and wastewater treatment facilities is 3.0 and 2.5, respectively. The 3.0 statistic means that for every 100 full-time employees working a calendar year, three work-related accidents occurred resulting in one lost workday. Veolia Water's LTIR for 2003 was 1.4 — significantly better than industry averages. In Burlingame, the company’s LTIR was zero in 2003.