2021 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 2021.


Forward Thinking

Bayshore Regional Sewerage Authority

In recognition of the Authority’s post-Superstorm Sandy efforts to redesign how power is managed, distributed, and restored at its facility, the Bayshore Regional Sewerage Authority is being honored with a 2022 Wave Award in the Forward Thinking category. During Sandy, historic levels of flooding exposed transformers, transformer switches, switchgear enclosures, load banks, pull boxes, and electrical manholes to saltwater flooding. This natural disaster highlighted vulnerability to future storms that needed to be addressed. With the assistance of $6.5 million in funding from NJ I-Bank and FEMA, the authority was able to replace all its main switches and transformers, position them with future storms in mind, and position its power infrastructure to weather future hurricane flooding. All of this was accomplished without having to interrupt the Authority’s daily operations. For these efforts to look ahead, Bayshore earns its Forward Thinking Award.


Best Management Practices

Hillsborough Municipal Utilities Authority

With Inflow and Infiltration presenting a major obstacle for the Authority, since any rainwater or groundwater entering the system must go through the same wastewater processing as sewage, the Hillsborough Municipal Utilities Authority set out to find a low-cost, high-efficiency way to inspect and repair its four-inch laterals without having to dig up the entire town. Once introduced to the HammerHead Trenchless system by HammerHead rep Gregg Conklin, they knew they had their solution. Led by I&I Coordinator Randy Smith, the authority set out on a massive repair project that patched piping, and found and repaired dozens of leaks in lateral tees. After a year of steady work, the borough’s l&I crew reduced wastewater system infiltration by 91,454,400 gallons per year — a savings of $236,319 in annual treatment costs – and extended the service life of the systems by up to 50 years. This proactive approach saved the Authority money and earned them a Wave Award for Best Management Practices.


Up And Comer Award

Jannette Kessler, Atlantic County Utilities Authority

As safety and risk manager at the Atlantic County Utilities Authority, Janette has been active in AEA for the last several years. She completed the Environmental Professional Development Academy, and was instrumental in the creation of the AEA safety committee, which now helps disseminate valuable information to members. Her knowledge of training requirements, deadlines to meet law mandated requirements, tables to help schedule permit submissions, and more has made her an authority on all things safety. More importantly, she has always made time to share that knowledge with others. Janette has also become a vital supporter of AEA by presenting and assisting at conferences, staffing AEA’s booth at the League and more. Her knowledge and willingness to share it has made her an easy choice for the Up and Comer Wave Award.


Public Education

Rachael Concepcion, Mount Laurel Township Municipal Utilities Authority

Striving for transparency with their customers, the Mount Laurel Township Municipal Utilities Authority created a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR). With it is a fact sheet for each contaminant listed on the CCR so customers can understand the origin of the contaminant, its potential health affects and how to remove the contaminant at home if they choose to do so. There wasn’t a budget or funding source for this project; the authority handled it in house. This project required multiple departments to work together to complete the task, including the operations department, lab manager, administration, and IT. Because many of the contaminants listed had no information readily available, the project ended up involving research to find reliable sources of information, all part of the authority’s efforts to bring full transparency to its customers. The public seems to be responding, too, receiving numerous calls and emails offering thanks for presenting the information in such a concise, easy to understand format. For this reason, the authority is being recognized with a Wave Award for Public Education.


Individual Wave Achievement

Ron Suto, Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission

Ron’s contribution to the environmental industry has stretched over nearly 35 years. He is an operations specialist with experience in both the water and wastewater industry. Over the years he has worked with the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission, Hamilton Township, Aqua New Jersey, CDM Smith, and Montgomery Township, among others. At Hamilton Township, he became instrumental in commanding consistent performance from the treatment plant. He has also been an educator, teaching the New Jersey Industrial Wastewater, Introduction to Water/Wastewater and Advanced Water Certification courses for licensing of water/wastewater and industrial wastewater system operators. Ron also teaches courses regularly at the New Jersey Water Environment Association (NJWEA) Technology Transfer Seminars. He is active in the Association of Environmental Authorities, New Jersey Water Environment Association, and sits on the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Licensed Operator Advisory Committee. For these reasons and more, he is being honored with the 2022 Wave Award for Individual Wave Achievement.


Life Member Award

Dennis Palmer, Landis Sewerage Authority

As a past president and two-time AEA board member, Dennis has contributed to AEA for over 30 years. As chair of the AEA Legislative Committee, Dennis has reviewed reams of proposed legislation and spent hours testifying at the State House on AEA’s behalf. He has been a spokesman and advocate for key amendments in bills, especially when they added unnecessary costs that would increase the bills of AEA members’ customers. Under Dennis’ leadership, AEA has opposed the diversion of water and sewer for non-water/sewer purposes. He led the AEA team that successfully passed a law permitting additional connection fees for increases in system use and helped AEA’s successful effort to narrow the scope of the two-percent cap on regional authorities. Dennis is also a trail blazer when it comes to energy, having adopted heat and power, solar, electric vehicle, food waste processing, and other technologies to improve efficiency and lower costs at Landis SA. More importantly, he has shared his innovative ideas and approaches with AEA members. Because of all that and more than we can list here, Dennis Palmer has earned this 2022 Life Member Award.