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2014 Outstanding Public Drinking Water System Award

posted Dec 15, 2014, 4:51 AM by Jason Breton   [ updated Dec 15, 2014, 4:57 AM ]

Maine Rural Water Association is pleased to announce the selection of this year’s recipient of the Outstanding Public Drinking Water System Award for a small water system.  This public water system was selected because of their outstanding commitment to deliver safe, reliable and aesthetically pleasing drinking water to their 1,985 school children and over 400 educational staff, administrative staff and support staff.

Actually this award presentation is not just recognizing one public water system.  Today we are recognizing a Maine School Administrative District for their commitment to provide safe, reliable and aesthetically pleasing drinking water from their seven (7) individual public water systems. In addition, we are acknowledging the extraordinary dedication and leadership of the licensed, designated operator who is directly responsible for these seven PWSs,  David Roberts.  

So here’s the common theme faced by all business…especially our Maine school systems – an ever tightening fiscal budget, aging infrastructure and increasing regulatory requirements.  Combine this common theme along with added job responsibilities.  So to be an effective water operator, you need to employ skills beyond what one would think it takes to maintain and operate a public drinking water system.  You must employ leadership abilities, be a strategic planner, and develop support for your all efforts - including your annual operating budget. Along with these, you need to have integrity, compassion and dedication to achieve your goals and objectives and work as a team to achieve the goals and objective of the entire organization and the community you serve.

Along with operating and maintaining the District’s  seven (7 ) public water systems, all having their own unique groundwater sources, pumping, storage, treatment and water demand characteristics, please allow me to explain  some of Dave’s responsibilities outside of being the licensed, designated operator for MSAD#52.  Dave’s role as designated operator for the District’s public water systems is just a very small part of his job - even though it is a very important one.  Dave also serves as our Food Service Director for the District’s entire school system. Six (6) of the schools have fully functional kitchens that serve students breakfast and lunch every school day.  

When Dave first joined the school district, the food service program was running in a deficit to the tune of about $200,000.  Each and every year he implemented changes to reverse this deficit-- without ever compromising the quality of food for the students.  In fact changes that he made increased participation by students.  In 2010, the food service program broke even for the first time in many years.  According to his direct supervisor, Deborah Roberts (no relation to Dave Roberts) Dave was 100% responsible for this HUGE achievement.

In 2010, all four (4) of the District’s elementary schools were presented with the national United States Healthier Schools Challenge award. They were the very first schools in the state of Maine to receive this award. There are three (3) levels that can be obtained - gold, silver, and bronze.  To achieve this award, menus need to meet very strict health standards. All four (4) elementary schools were awarded the silver medal.  In 2014, the District’s Tripp Middle School in Turner was awarded the very first gold medal award in the State of Maine for a middle school.  These very prestigious food safety & health awards certainly would not have been achieved without (1) the dedication and commitment of Dave and his staff to improve the efficiency and quality of the District’s kitchens, (2) Dave’s dedication and commitment to provide safe, and aesthetically pleasing drinking water, and (3) the support of the District’s administration.

Here is a direct quote from Dave’s supervisor, Deborah Roberts:  Dave is a one-of-a-kind gem as an employee and MSAD #52 team member. He is dedicated to each and every task he is assigned. He has integrity, compassion, and commitment to all his employees and to the students. I would love to have a whole team of "Daves", but I am truly thankful that I can say he's a member of my team.”

I am honored to present this year’s Maine Rural Water Association Outstanding Public Drinking Water System Award to MSAD#52 for its outstanding operations of the Turner Primary School, Turner Elementary School, Tripp Middle School, Leavitt Area High School, Greene Central School, Leeds Central School, and the Administration building public water systems.  I am especially honored to recognize Dave Robert’s dedication, compassion and commitment.

Accepting the award for MSAD #52 is the Superintendent of Schools - Dr. Henry Aliberti, Business Manager – Deborah Roberts and the Food Service Director & Designated Public Water System Operator – Dave Roberts.


Written and award presented by:

Tom J. Bahun,Training Specialist

Maine Rural Water Association

254 Alexander Reed Road

Richmond, Maine 04357

Jason Breton,
Dec 15, 2014, 4:56 AM