2019 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 2019.

Energy Savers

Ocean County Utilities Authority

Thanks to pump upgrades that have resulted in a more efficient system that uses dramatically less energy and which will pay for itself over time as a result, the Ocean County Utilities Authority is being recognized with a 2019 Energy Savers Wave Award. The infrastructure improvements came about after flow studies at the Authority revealed that more efficient pumping could result in significant energy savings. Upgrades at two pumping stations costing $19,500 in total have resulted in $20,000 in electrical cost savings in the first year alone, savings that will grow as the years go by. These upgrades are expected to benefit the community for many years to come through more efficient usage and lower costs to run the stations, and earn the Authority this Energy Savers award.


Forward Thinking

Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission

The Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission is being honored with a Forward Thinking 2019 Wave Award, thanks to its work in achieving NJPDES compliance. Via efforts that began in the early 2000s with the establishment of the NJCSO Group, PVSC helped fund warning signs at all outfalls, a notification system website, monthly DMR reporting, compliance monitoring, and more. This work helped ensure efforts were not duplicated between the eight other agencies who partnered with them, while also helping set up a system that will benefit all these agencies and their ratepayers for decades to come. Long-range planning such as this is exactly what the Forward Thinking award is designed to recognize, and it’s why PVSC is being honored this year.

Western Monmouth Utilities Authority

In creating a Confined Space Rescue Team, the Western Monmouth Utilities Authority earned recognition in this year’s Wave Awards with a Forward Thinking Award for 2019. With funding from their operational and capital budgets, the Authority helped create a county-wide Confined Space Rescue Team that is dispatched from the Monmouth County Sherriff’s office when needed. This effort creates a return investment on the quality of work the Authority’s staff does, and increases morale and overall value of WMUA. Further, the community and county benefit from this potentially lifesaving team who will be the first boots on the ground in a confined space event. This team is coupled with the Authority’s efforts to create a Snow Plow Operator Team of CDL drivers to operate Marlboro-provided snow plows in the case of inclement weather. Both examples of shared services are key reasons for WMUA to be honored with this Forward Thinking Award.

Borough of Buena Municipal Utilities Authority

In recognition of Buena Borough Municipal Utilities Authority using advanced technology to meet stringent Pinelands criteria while still expanding service, they are being honored with a 2019 Wave Award for Forward Thinking. With roadblocks to their plans to create an infiltration and percolation (I/P) facility to discharge to ground water rather than the Pinelands stream, the Authority determined that Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) treatment technology represented the best available wastewater treatment technology and had  the capability to significantly improve the effluent quality from the BBMUA treatment plant. They had just 24 months to meet Pinelands Commission compliance standards – but they did it. Now, BBMUA meets those new standards, and the additional capacity will enable sewer service to nearby areas with failing septic systems, provide new sewer service capacity to Buena Vista Township (which has none), and provide economic development expansion in Buena Borough.

Toms River Municipal Utilities Authority

In finding an innovative way to make spot repairs on the Authority’s 435 miles of piping, 9,000 manholes, and 20 pumping stations, the Toms River Municipal Utilities Authority has earned recognition with a 2019 Wave Award for Forward Thinking. A system of CCTV cameras helps the Authority inspect the system inside and out. Previously, spot repairs could be a costly issue, necessitating a full day or two of labor in each instance. Now, through the use of Quicklock Clamps, personnel can perform internal spot repairs of a sanitary sewer much like a heart surgeon places a stent. Since the program was initiated roughly two years ago, the Authority has placed closed to 300 such clamps at a cost of just over $150,000, resulting in a savings of more than $2 million. These efforts will continue to make the Authority more efficient for years to come, too, and earns them this Forward Thinking Award.

Willingboro Municipal Utilities Authority

Thanks to its Energy Savings Improvement Program (ESIP), the Willingboro Municipal Utilities Authority is being honored this year with a Forward Thinking Award. Financing for maintaining and upgrading infrastructure is a challenge. While the NJEIB (formerly NJEIT) has been a success financial vehicle, the repayment costs are increasing. In 2017, the WMUA became aware of the ESIP, which permits government agencies to make energy-related improvements to their facilities and pay for the costs using the value of the energy savings that result from the improvements. The WMUA will be the first municipal utilities authority in the State of New Jersey to finance capital improvements through the program. Partnering with Schneider Electric, WMUA will save $6.3 million over 15 years and at the same time provide necessary infrastructure improvements in a completely cost neutral and cash flow positive process via the savings being generated. By shedding risk for their project and not impacting ratepayers, they earn this Forward Thinking Award.


Public Education

Secaucus Municipal Utility Authority

The Secaucus Municipal Utility Authority’s work in educating the public on the proper disposal of waste, and doing so with minimal costs, has resulted in them being honored with a 2019 Wave Award for Public Education. The ongoing program includes informational notices being given to residents whenever staff are out on sewer jobs. This information includes detailed photos of the blockages that can occur from dumping grease and other inappropriate material down the drain, and includes details on materials that should not be flushed or poured down the drain (including the now infamous “flushable” wipes). As a result of their public education efforts, sewer backup calls have been reduced. This work earns SMUA this award for Public Education.

Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority

A combination of endeavors under the umbrella of the Camden Collaborative Initiative (CCI) Environmental Education Program has earned the Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority the honor of being recognized with a 2019 Wave Award for Public Education. Partnering with the DEP, EPA, and Cooper’s Ferry Partnership, one of CCI’s primary areas of focus is Public Education. Programs include Camden Green Ambassadors Internship Program, a five-week, environmentally focused summer internship program for high school age youth; PowerCorps Camden, an AmeriCorps program focused on improving outcomes for youth and improving green infrastructure in Camden City; a Lead Awareness push to inform the public about lead exposure and safety and explain that letting water run can reduce the risk of exposure; and a Rain Barrel Distribution and Installation program funded with grants from William Penn Foundation, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and matching funds. The combined power and reach of these efforts earns CCMUA this recognition.


Individual Wave Achievement

Kyle Arnold, North Hudson Sewerage Authority, Jacobs Engineering

In his capacity as Maintenance Manager at the North Hudson Sewerage Authority, and the tremendous impact his efforts have made towards keeping the Authority efficient, Kyle Arnold is being recognized with an Individual Wave Achievement award for 2019. Arnold has taken it upon himself to learn how to program the SCADA systems that operate the entire facility, making adjustments throughout the system to better control pumps, level sensors, and more. He designed and created new operator interface screens, lead the effort to upgrade the Authority’s Operations Room, and other hands-on projects that have saved the Authority over $100,000 in outside contractor costs alone. His keen eye for finding new suppliers, better prices on equipment, and lower cost alternatives to otherwise expensive fixes (such as to the plant’s TV camera security system) have proven invaluable to the Authority and earns him this award.

Joseph Natale, Western Monmouth Utilities Authority

For his leadership, ability to teach others, and work in climbing the industry ladder, Joseph Natale is being recognized with an Individual Wave Achievement Award for 2019. An Environmental Professional Development Academy (EPDA) graduate and veteran of Hanover SA and Western Monmouth Utilities Authority, Natale was an integral part of improvements at the Collections Department, then after a transfer to the Operating Department, continued his record of spearheading thoughtful and visionary improvements. Though he entered the division as the “low man on the totem pole,” he did so with more licensing, training and experience than many of his peers. In Operations, he has established himself as a learner-teacher, building the department’s competencies and abilities. Brian Valentino says that Natale will “one day be counted among the top leaders in our industry,” and as a result is being honored with this award.


Best Management Practices

Hanover Sewerage Authority

With 30 years of 100 percent NJDPES permit compliance now under its belt, the Hanover Sewerage Authority is being recognized with a 2019 Wave Award for Best Management Practices. In 1987, HSA recognized that it had a poor record of compliance with permit limitations. A long-term plan was put into place to optimize operation of the existing system, resolve conflicts between permits conditions and DMR forms, correct sampling and laboratory procedures, and more. Other improvements have greatly reduced overflows and backups. Perhaps most important of all, a comprehensive staff education program ensured that staff were aware of the Authority’s goals and how they would be accomplished, getting everyone on the same page so that even minor abnormal conditions were quickly reported and addressed. Seeing this long-term planning through over the course of three decades merits this award for Best Management Practices.

Atlantic County Utilities Authority

In recognition of Atlantic County Utilities Authority’s Leadership Orientation Initiative, they are being honored with a 2019 Wave Award for Best Management Practices. Created in order to bring new supervisors up to speed on ACUA’s history, practices, and regulatory and compliance issues, the Initiative created a new means of orientation to bring their entire supervisory staff up to the same level of understanding and get everyone on the same page. The full day program deals with operations, human resources, finances, and administration, with each panel led by an on-staff expert. Via breakout sessions and panel discussions, supervisors had an opportunity to interact in ways their day-to-day duties often do not afford them. Getting leaders to be engaged, receptive, and open to sharing ideas and information earns ACMU this award for Best Management Practices.

North Hudson Sewerage Authority

For its efforts in improving overall plant performance and effluent quality at its River Road Wastewater Treatment Plant, North Hudson Sewerage Authority is being honored with a Best Management Practices award in the 2019 Wave Awards. After failing to meet CBOD and TSS permit limits from 2006 to 2008, the team initiated capital improvement projects and built effective strategies for the trickling filters and secondary clarifiers necessary at the plant. Since 2015, the team has demonstrated effective planning to improve process efficiency, too, including implementing a trickling filter flushing and a clarifier cleaning schedule to improve overall plant performance. The team also set and met a goal for excellence in operations and process control. Despite the challenge of some unforeseen staffing shortages, the operators successfully managed their planned schedules and stepped out of their previous routine activities to cross-train and undertake additional responsibilities. These dramatic efforts earn NHSA recognition for their management practices.


Up And Comer Award

Rachael Brandt, Western Monmouth Utilities Authority

A member of AEA’s Human Resources Committee, member of the Environmental Professional Development Academy (EPDA) Cohort, and other accolades, the Western Monmouth Utilities Authority’s Rachael Brandt is being honored this year with an Up And Comer Award in the 2019 Wave Awards. As Confidential Assistant to the Academy Director, Brandt has played an important role in the preparation and execution of the EPDA. She routinely receives calls from other authorities seeking her input on a wide variety of issues, and her deep knowledge of HR topics has made her a natural source of information and guidance for other young professionals in the field. Her director supervisor, Brian Valentino, touts her bright future in the field, earning her this Up And Comer Award.

Apryl Roach, South Monmouth Regional Sewerage Authority

Active with AEA since 2013, Apryl Roach’s energy and dedication to the AEA mission (as well as her work with Franklin Township Sewerage Authority) earns her this recognition with an Up And Comer Award in the 2019 Wave Awards. First providing staff assistance for the Professional Development Committee, then becoming a vital part of the Human Resources, Education and Conference committees, Roach’s efforts have been tireless. She served as chair of the Environmental Professional Development Academy (EPDA) Steering Committee and in 2018 was appointed coordinator of the Human Resources Track, where she has helped shape the work habits of rising stars in the industry. She is also a valuable asset at AEA’s semi-annual meetings, currently serves as Interim Executive Director of the Franklin Township Sewerage Authority, is an officer with the New Jersey Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management, volunteers as an EMT, and teaches with Thomas Edison State University. For all this and more, Roach is being honored with this Up And Comer Award.


Outstanding Associate Member, Individual

Rina Dalal, CDM Smith

For her efforts in coordinating the AEA mentorship program for the last three years, Rina Dalal is being honored with a 2019 Wave Award for Outstanding Associate Member. Dalal’s service on the professional development committee has morphed into doing yeoman’s work coordinating the matching of mentors to protégés throughout the AEA and Environmental Professional Development Academy (EPDA). On an annual basis, Dalal publishes the Mentor Directory and helps place a dozen or more environmental professionals with appropriate mentors. Dalal’s dedication to the continuing improvement of the industry through fostering professional development, her friendly and supporting nature, and the way she doggedly pursues productive mentoring relationships earns her this Outstanding Associate Member award.

John Napolitano, Cleary Giacobbe Alfieri Jacobs, LLC

An active member of the AEA for 30 years, previously serving on the AEA Board and currently serving as AEA’s counsel, John Napolitano’s efforts are being recognized this year with a 2019 Wave Award for Outstanding Associate Member. Napolitano has represented governmental entities for over 20 years and also serves as general counsel to the New Jersey Water Environment Association. Frequently called upon to advance the interests of AEA members, he is consistently relied upon to know the answer, or to get the answer. His participation in AEA-sponsored events and his championing of AEA’s causes has made him a fixture at AEA’s conferences, where he shares his expertise and practical experience with AEA members. Napolitano leads others by example and guides AEA members through the many complex legal and political issues confronting public entities. In recognition of this work, he is being honored with this Outstanding Associate Award.


Individual Wave Achievement & Life Member Award

Susan DuBey, Bayshore Regional Sewerage Authority

With a career in the industry spanning 41 years, Susan DuBey of Bayshore Regional Sewerage Authority has seen it all, earning her recognition with a 2019 Wave Award for Individual Achievement. DuBey has seen two major treatment plant upgrades, numerous emergencies and personnel changes, including new Plant Superintendents, Executive Directors, and Commissioners. Throughout it all one thing has remained constant: Susan Dubey. In her role as Administrative Assistant and Confidential Secretary to the Board, DuBey has been a driving force behind staff and Commissioner attendance and participation at the AEA conferences. In her 41 years of service to the Authority she has seen many difficult situations and helped to shepherd the Authority through them with her consistency and reliability, including emerging as a vital leader during and after Superstorm Sandy, and keeping the Authority active with AEA during that crisis. For her many years of contributions to the Authority and the industry as a whole, she is being honored with this award.


Life Member Award

Kevin Aiello, Middlesex County Utilities Authority

With a career spanning 35 years at Middlesex County Utilities Authority, including serving as a past Director of AEA, a member of the NJPDES, Education and Conferences committees, and much more, Kevin Aiello is being recognized with a Life Member Award in the 2019 Wave Awards. Aiello is a past recipient of the AEA Leadership Service Award thanks to his service on the AEA Board of Directors from 2001 to 2007. He has always focused his attention on the Board of Commissioners and the 36 municipalities served by MCUA, where his extensive work and influence impacts every area of operations. Currently the Administrator of Environmental Quality, Aiello has previously served MCUA as Chief Chemist and Industrial Pretreatment Coordinator. He has also worked for the Department of Environmental Protection. He is a Past Director of the National Association of Clean Water Authorities, served on their Regulatory Policy Committee and Pretreatment and Hazardous Waste Committee, and far more than can be listed here. Because of his expertise, hard work, and extensive contributions to AEA, MCUA, and the industry as a whole, Aiello earns this Life Member recognition.


Outstanding Commissioner

Ted Light, Middlesex County Utilities Authority

A commissioner with Middlesex County Utilities Authority for 31 years, including the past 21 as Chairman of the Board of Commissioners, Ted Light is being recognized with a 2019 Wave Award for Outstanding Commissioner. Light’s positive attitude is on display both during public meetings and during his interactions with staff. His technical understanding of the vast and complex operations of MCUA, which serves 36 municipalities and is the second largest Authority in the state, means he plays a pivotal role in critical decisions made by the Board. He also serves on the Local Finance Board, has guided the Authority through several major emergencies, including Hurricane Sandy, and more. Light is a strong supporter of AEA and encourages MCUA staff to do the same, taking part in conferences, providing valuable insights, and in the process helping environmental authorities throughout the state. For all this, Light is being honored as an Outstanding Commissioner.

Dr. Robert A. Bartolini, Stony Brook Regional Sewerage Authority

Joining the Stony Brook Regional Sewerage Authority all the way back in 1979 and playing a major role in the Authority’s success up until his retirement in December 2018, Dr. Robert A. Bartolini earns recognition this year as Outstanding Commissioner in AEA’s 2019 Wave Awards. Dr. Bartolini served as the Authority’s Board Chairman for the last 21 years. He worked tirelessly to develop an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust amongst the board members, consultants and staff. Under his watch, SBRSA has consistently exceeded NJPDES discharge permit requirements, while maintaining and controlling costs with prudent financial planning and cost saving measures. Dr. Bartolini instilled in the Board members the fundamental view that doing what is right for the Authority would in the long run be best for all of the municipal members. He also encouraged and supported SBRSA’s active participation in the AEA and on many of AEA’s committees, and welcomed the insight gained from these opportunities. For all this and more, he is being honored with this award.