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January 11, 2013


Christopher Gilbride / Mercedes Padilla (718) 595-6600

Department of Environmental Protection Graduates 72 New Sewage Treatment Workers

New York CityDepartment of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Carter Strickland today presided over a graduation ceremony for 72 new sewage treatment workers who will immediately be assigned to the City’s collection facilities and 14 wastewater treatment plants. The 72 graduates represent the largest class to join DEP, which now employs over 650 sewage treatment workers. In order to ensure that the graduates are prepared to safely perform the myriad of highly specialized and complex tasks necessary to treat the 1.3 billion gallons of wastewater produced in New York City every day, they completed a mandatory six-week orientation program on a wide variety of topics including worker safety, wastewater treatment plant operations, and maintenance. Deputy Commissioner Vincent Sapienza and Assistant Commissioner John Petito joined Commissioner Strickland at the graduation ceremony that took place this morning at the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant’s Visitors Center, in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

“Sewage Treatment Workers perform a critical function in protecting public health by ensuring that the 1.3 billion gallons of wastewater produced in New York City each day are treated to federal standards,”said Commissioner Strickland. “During Hurricane Sandy and the record storm surge it brought to the region many of our employees selflessly worked to protect our critical equipment and ensure the treatment process continued even as flood water submerged the plants. I am happy to welcome these new graduates who now join this proud tradition of dedication to the environmental and public health of New York City.”

The intense six-week orientation for the graduates included hands-on training at the Red Hook, 26th Ward, Newtown Creek, and Wards Island Wastewater Treatment Plants. Topics covered included personal protection equipment, right to know, fall protection, algebra, work zone safety, oxy-acetylene cutting, pipe soldering and fitting, working in confined spaces, rigging and moving heavy equipment with chains, slings, hoists and cranes, and the proper use of an aerial lift and fork lift. The graduates also received the New York City Fire Department Certificate of Physical Fitness.

Since Mayor Bloomberg took office in 2002, DEP has invested more than $10 billion in upgrades to its 14 wastewater treatment plants, the construction or rehabilitation of four Combined Sewer Overflow storage facilities, sewer main construction, Bluebelts, and other conveyance or treatment measures. In 2011, for the first time since the Clean Water Act was passed in 1972, all 14 plants were individually certified as meeting federal treatment standards. The ecological health of New York City harbor water has improved substantially over the last few decades and DEP has also begun an historic nitrogen discharge reduction program at the plants to further improve water quality.

The new graduates are:

Anthony Aaron
Hydar Ali
Ravindra Bindesh
James Blennau
Michael Brennan
Robert Brower
Frank Caggiano, Jr.
Joel Cepeda
Peter Chin
Reno Colalillo
Christopher Cuzzo
Cecil Daly
Kevin Davies
Michael DeVita
George DeVito
Yugul Dhanraj
Vanessa Dipierro
Paul Fiordimondo
Sean Flaherty
Sean Foley
George Fouad
John Franklin
Robert Gaeta
Robert Gavitt
Erich Geiger
Bruce Gilardi
Luigi Granitto
Brian Hanley
Jamie Harkins
Marcus Heesch
Darrin Hrinya
Raymundo Infante
Eddie Irizarry
Sasha Kachanovsky
Dorothy Kovacs
Michael Luke
Richard Mazza
James McCann
Irving McDonald
James Migliozzi
Danny Miraglia
Ronald Mistretta
Patrick Neal
Joseph O'Brien
Michael Oefelein
Michael Panzarino
Bindesh Patel
Joe Pena
Sean Phillips
Albert Ramacca
Stephen Reill
Robert Ricchetti
Louis Robles, Sr.
Steven Ruff
Jamie Schilling
John Sears
Emil Shalumov
Venode Shiwlochan
Leonid Sigal
Chandrakhant Singh
Nyeem Sirmans
Kevin Smith
Ryan Smith
Bruno Speziale
Joseph Sue
Kevin Svoboda
Edward Terriberry
Nick Tramontano
Gregory Viske
Ellis Watson
Scott Wittson
Brian Wolf

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of high quality water each day to more than nine million residents, including eight million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs, and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels, and aqueducts bring the water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take the wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. DEP hasnearly 6,000 employees, including nearly 1,000 in the upstate watershed. For more information, visit, like us on Facebook at, or follow us on Twitter at

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NYC Department of Environmental Protection
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