The Virginia Institute of Marine Science has received two prestigious awards in recognition of exemplary performance in managing wastewater on its 40-acre shoreline campus in Gloucester Point.
VIMS received a Diamond Award from the Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD) for 10 consecutive years of perfect compliance with its wastewater permit. VIMS also received an Industrial Waste and Pretreatment Environmental Excellence award in the Platinum Category from the Virginia Water Environment Association (VWEA). Both awards were bestowed during a ceremony at HRSD headquarters in Virginia Beach on April 15th.
HRSD, a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia, was created by public referendum in 1940 and now serves 1.6 million people in 17 cities and counties in southeast Virginia. HRSD protects public health and the waters of Hampton Roads by treating wastewater effectively. VWEA was formed as the Virginia Industrial Waste and Sewage Works Association in 1947. Its goal is to preserve and enhance Virginia's water environment, now and for future generations.
Mr. Mike Kershner, Capital Outlay Project Engineer in VIMS' Facilities Management Department, says "We are proud to earn the HRSD Diamond Award for 10 years of full compliance with no violations."
Dr. John Wells, VIMS Dean and Director, says the awards "honor our Facilities staff for their efforts, day in and out, to manage our wastewater in an environmentally sound manner. As a leader in efforts to improve water quality in Chesapeake Bay, we take our own responsibilities in wastewater management very seriously."
VIMS, which has more than 500 faculty, staff, and students and maintains 51 buildings of more than 1,000 square feet, acquired its "small generator" permit from HRSD in 1995. VIMS received Gold awards for annual compliance from 2000 to 2003, and in 2004 received a Platinum Award for five years of full compliance with no violations. VIMS received Platinum Achievement awards for compliance each year from 2005 to 2008.
The HRSD award system bestows gold awards for annual compliance with an organization's wastewater permit, platinum awards for 5 consecutive years of compliance, and diamond awards for 10 consecutive years of perfect compliance. The VWEA Awards recognize individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to the water environment profession and to the Federation and its Member Associations.
Kershner says the award recognizes VIMS for having "no spills, maintaining our pH level at 5 or above, maintaining our station, certifying our sewage meter, and submitting the proper paperwork within the deadlines."
"If we continue to have no violations," says Kershner, "VIMS will continue to receive Diamond Achievement awards." Any organization that incurs a violation has to start the process all over again.
Other Diamond awards went to Maida Development Company (12 consecutive years of perfect permit compliance); Yorktown Power Station, Chisman Site (11 consecutive years); and Chesapeake Regional Medical Center, Industrial Resource Technologies Inc., and U.S. Army Fort Monroe (10 years). Twenty firms received awards for perfect compliance for five to nine consecutive years.