Water director wins top state award
Despite controversy surrounding falsified water quality documents during his tenure, New Brunswick Water Utility Director Frank Marascia has recently won a top state award.
Marascia, who joined the department in October 2012, received the Harold V. Florence, Jr., Meritorious Operator Award from the New Jersey Section of the American Water Works Association for his performance during Hurricane Sandy, according to a press release from the city.
The award could be considered a turnaround for the director after the November 2012 fiasco in which licensed operator Edward O’Rourke was found to have falsified important documents surrounding water quality, including data on water turbidity and disinfection, according to a previous article in The Daily Targum.
The director joined the investigation in March 2013 when water in the city appeared turbid, a term that describes the clarity or cloudiness of water, according to The Daily Targum.
Marascia began working at the water department only two weeks before Hurricane Sandy struck. According to the press release, Marascia was instrumental in providing clean water to the city’s residents after the storm flooded the Raritan River.
In an email statement, Mike Furrey, trustee of the New Jersey AWWA, made it clear the award was for his work during the storm.
“What Frank did was very admirable. It took a lot of courage to stand up and do what he did, and we wanted to recognize that. He’s also a superior licensed operator and very skilled,” he said in the email.
The New Jersey AWWA is an over 1,750-member operation composed of consultants, engineers and licensed operators. Some of its responsibilities include nominating several candidates for its operator award, according to Furrey’s email.
This year’s committee chose to send out a message about Marascia’s performance, he said in the email. He did not comment on the November 2013 controversy.
In the press release, Marascia said he was honored to receive the award.
“I will continue to work to improve the city’s water utility serving the citizens of New Brunswick,” he said.