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Bethlehem employee recognized for performance

Sayward credited for $300K in savings at water division

27 years ago, Richard Sayward was working as a laborer for the Town of Bethlehem, mowing the grass and sweeping the halls at the town's water treatment plant. Today, he's in charge of the town's water treatment operations and, on March 19, he was recognized for his work.

Sayward was awarded the 2009 Management Innovation Award by the Capital Branch of the American Public Works Association, in large part due to his work to find about $300,000 in savings by improving the town's water treatment operations.

That's one of the first times I've been recognized for the work we do at the water plant, said Chief Water Treatment Plant Operator Sayward, who accepted the award at the group's annual awards luncheon.

He was nominated by Deputy Commissioner of Public Works Erik Deyoe, who serves as secretary for the local Public Works Association branch.

"His whole crew does a great job, and I was just thankful we were able to get them recognition," Deyoe said.

Sayward was largely responsible for changing the way the town draws water into its New Salem Water Treatment Plant.

"At every one of our facilities we have a cost associated with how much it costs to produce water," Sayward said. "I went back through past operating data and looked at all the information we hadand it had appeared to me there was water in that aquifer that we could use that we never had used in the past."

Not unlike an oil tycoon, Sayward's research found the town's well field had excess capacity. The upgrades his study led to an increase in the town's water supply permit from 400,000 to 1 million gallons of water per day.

"What that allows us to do is shift more away from some of more expensive sources of production," Deyoe said.

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