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$15,000 EPA Grant Helps Lowell Youth and Environment Program

Release Date: 08/18/2010
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. - Aug. 18, 2010) – EPA’s New England office has awarded a $15,000 grant to the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC) to oversee a program at the Lowell, Mass. Regional Wastewater Utility for the summers of 2010 and 2011.   The funding was made available through EPA’s National Environmental Justice Program.

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

EPA has been extremely fortunate to work with organizations like NEIWPCC, the City of Lowell, and the Career Center of Lowell to have summer environment related job programs targeting economically disadvantaged youth.

At the Lowell Regional Wastewater Utility this summer, five local high school and college students are working at several “stations” (e.g. laboratory, pretreatment, maintenance, process control, etc.) on a rotational basis so that they are exposed to some of the many facets involved with the proper operation of a wastewater treatment plant on an everyday basis.  The students also participate in field trips related to science and water quality, along with college career counseling.

The first Youth and the Environment Program was initiated in 1990 and had been on-going for 18 continuous summers through 2007. This summer EPA has been able to jump start the Lowell program through NEIWPCC after a two year hiatus.  Further, the efforts of City Manager Bernie Lynch and the Lowell Regional Wastewater Utility staff have been exceptional as they continue to devote a significant amount of time and effort to work with these students and support this most valuable program.

More information: How EPA addresses Environmental Justice (http://www.epa.gov/compliance/environmentaljustice/index.html)

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8/19/10 - minor edits made to correct typographical errors.