PHILADELPHIA, August 13, 2008: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency presented Ralph Hughes of Felton, Delaware with the EPA mid-Atlantic region’s award for excellence in operating a public drinking water system.
"Public drinking water plant operators like Ralph Hughes are our first line of defense against waterborne diseases and contamination that can cause serious, even fatal, illnesses,” said Donald S. Welsh, EPA regional administrator. “This award honors the excellence of highly qualified, trained professionals who have the expertise to operate water treatment plants.”
Hughes operates the drinking water treatment facility for the Felton Water Department. He was being recognized for his outstanding efforts in the development, construction and implementation of the first arsenic treatment facility in the state.
Hughes has a history of leadership as a mentor and trainer to newer employees, as well as being recognized for his dedication, skills and accomplishments by several key agencies throughout the state. He was awarded the State of Delaware Water Operator of the Year in March 2008.
EPA’s mid-Atlantic region created the Professional Operator Excellence Award in 2006 to highlight public water systems and recognize outstanding performance by public water system plant operators. The award can be given to operators in two categories: large (serving more than 3,300 customers) and small (serving fewer than 3,300 customers) public water systems. Hughes’ award is in the small system category. He was nominated for the award by Delaware Department of Health and Social Services.