2017 Wave Awards

The Association of Environmental Authorities bestows Wave Awards to recognize excellence in the public water, wastewater, recycling, and solid waste sector in New Jersey, with awards divided into a number of categories. Submissions are reviewed by a three- member committee. The awards are presented at the spring utility management conference. For more information, visit this page. Here are the winners for 2017.

Atlantic County Utilities Authority

ACUA officials pose with their 2017 Wave Awards with AEA Executive Director Peggy Gallos. The ACUA took home awards for their public education and management practices.Public Education

In recognition of their Wastewater Facility Tours program, the ACUA was presented with a 2017 Public Education
Wave Award.  Having leveraged their unique position as the country’s only urban, coastal wind farm, ACUA officials were able to greatly expand the volume of tour requests, as well as their digital workflow resources for managing those requests and assigning tour personnel. In fact, ACUA has so effectively streamlined their
tour workflow programs that they have held ‘Open House’ tour programs during the summer months. These tours operate without any prior scheduling, and brought the ACUA almost 700 visitors over an eight-week period last summer.

Since 2006, the ACUA has hosted over 34,000 visitors to its solar park, wind farm, and water treatment facilities. The tour program has provided the ACUA with a valuable platform for community engagement, and education.
Furthermore, the tours program has proven to be an equally valuable resource for promoting their mission, and increasing their visibility with state and federal officials.

Pictured here: Joseph Pantalone, ACUA vice-president of wastewater operations, Monica Coffey, ACUA communications manager, Linda Bazemore, ACUA chief financial officer, Rick Dovey, ACUA executive director

Best Management Practices

In recognition of their efforts to honor the service and work of past employees through their Commemorative Wall and Retiree Garden Projects, the ACUA was honored with a 2017 Best Management Practices Award. Though they have always had employee recognition protocols, over recent years the ACUA sought a more lasting, welcoming, and visible way to publicly honor retirees and past employees. Board Members and officers worked tirelessly to lay the groundwork for the project, which eventually developed into the vision of a Commemorative Wall accompanied by a variety of surrounding garden areas. By selling over $75,000 of surplus equipment, ACUA officials provided themselves with the financial resources to complete the project.

The commemorative wall enables past and current staff to understand that they are valued, that their work is meaningful, and that their contributions will be remembered by all those at the ACUA.

Pictured here: Rick Dovey, ACUA executive director, Marvin Embry, ACUA commissioner


Cape May County Municipal Utilities Authority

Public Education

In recognition of their efforts to rebrand their single-stream recycling program, the Cape May County Municipal Utilities Authority is presented with a 2017 Public Education award. As the county switched from dual stream to single stream recycling programs, CMCMUA determined that the public education program was in need of a revamp. Bolstered by the addition of a large, colorful suit, the CMCMUA’s new education initiative’s mascot makes public service announcements and musical ads over local radio while also appearing at local festivals, classrooms, and community events. The goal of their program is to inform all residents of the policy shift, and thus reduce collection costs per ton of recycling.

Forward Thinking

The Cape May County Municipal Utilities Authority has been bestowed with a 2017 Forward Thinking award for their efficient Heat Exchanger Installation Project at their Ocean City Wastewater Treatment Facility. Due to old age and reduced efficiency, the heat exchanger in their existing system was in need of replacement, which came by way of two redundant heat exchangers. These exchangers were installed in a more accessible, safer location within the treatment facility, while all installation work was completed by the authority’s in-house project crew at the cost of $40,000. CMCMUA officials saved time and money for their ratepayers by completing this project without the use of additional contractors.


Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission

Best Management Practices

On account of their River Restoration Program, the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission is recognized with a 2017 Best Management Practices Award. Since 1998, the PVSC’s River Restoration Program has helped remove 12,000 tons of debris from more than 100 miles of area waterways. In the last year alone, PVSC removed 500 tons of debris from those same waterways. The marquee event on the program’s calendar is the biannual effort to cleanup the Great Falls. During this cleanup event, the flow of the Passaic is diverted into a nearby hydroelectric plant while crews scour the top and bottom of the falls for debris and detritus. In addition to their direct cleanup efforts, the River Restoration Program conducts outdoor learning and pollution prevention workshops for local communities in an effort to engage the public before debris makes it into the river. PVSC has shown a clear effort to positively impact the behaviors of local communities, while simultaneously enacting enduring programs which seek to repair damages imparted by current pollution behaviors.


Public Education

In recognition of their work to create the Lower Passaic River Blueway Canoe and Kayak Trail, the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission has received a 2017 Public Education Wave Award.  In conjunction with the Lower Passaic and Saddle River Alliance, and the National Park Service, the PVSC helped create and furnish the 32 mile trail.. The project aimed to encourage restoration of the Passaic River by offering local communities increased accessibility to the recreational potential of the river, thus fostering positive attitudes via a recreational link. PVSC and its partners hope that increased recreational traffic on the river creates greater visibility towards the need for restorative projects. The project utilized funding from several federal grant programs matched in-kind by PVSC with a total investment just under $500,000.

Pictured here: Gregory Tramontozzi, PVSC executive director


Toms River Municipal Utilities Authority

Forward Thinking

This award is in recognition of the work of Toms River Municipal Utilities Authority staff members Len Bundra and Bernie Rutkowski. They developed Augmented Reality Software to be integrated into the Microsoft HoloLens headset technology, which enables real-time coordination and communication with field technicians as they make repairs, increasing efficiency and improving work flow.

Pictured here: Mike Ruppel, AEA president, Steve Acropolis, TRMUA executive director, and Peggy Gallos, AEA executive director. 

Energy Saver

The Toms River Municipal Utilities Authority 2017 Energy Savers Award is in recognition for its installation of a 120kW photovoltaic roof-mounted solar array on the main facility administrative building. With the help of Maser Consulting and Eznergy, the TRMUA conducted a feasibility study, designed the array, and conducted a financial benefits analysis. These efforts yielded a 330kW panel array that is expected to provide almost 70 percent of the TRMUA’s main facility annual energy needs, saving money and thus benefiting ratepayers.