Key West Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators Given “Water Heroes Award” for Going ABOVE & BEYOND…

City Manager Jim Scholl, OMI Plant Manager John Bartelmo, Key West Utilities Director John Paul Castro, and OMI’s Pam Phelps and Oliver Kofoid.

City Manager Jim Scholl commended the City’s utilities professionals for a recent honor they received for going above and beyond the call of duty during Hurricane Irma.

Operators of Key West’s wastewater treatment plan received the Water Environmental Federation’s Water Heroes Award. The plant is operated by OMI, a division of the Jacobs Corp.

“Our staff stayed behind for the hurricane,” said Scholl. “Everything went fine until the generator failed. They were able to effect emergency repairs and keep things up and running to provide critical wastewater and storm water services to protect our property and our environment.”

The Water Heroes Award was first presented to a team in Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina in 2012. It recognizes individuals or municipalities who performed duties above and beyond the usual call of duty during an emergency situation. The Water Environmental Federation is a 35,000-member group of water quality professionals around the world.

The Key West wastewater plant has a generator to keep it running when the power is out, as was the case when Hurricane Irma hit the Keys in September of 2017. When that generator failed, the staff, said OMI’s Oliver Kofoid, worked very hard to get it up and running again.

“I liken it to the Titanic,” said Kofoid. “If you’re there, that’s the one place you don’t want to sink. We worked extra hard.”

Their efforts kept the plant running for the several days it took to restore power.

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