Youth and the Environment

Real-World Experience in the Wastewater Field

For 26 years, the Youth and the Environment Program in Lowell, Massachusetts, has provided inner-city youths with experience in the wastewater field.

The EPA produced this short video about the Youth and the Environment Program in 2016.

The EPA produced this short video about the Youth and the Environment Program in 2016.During the summer, students from Lowell work daily at the Lowell Regional Wastewater Utility.

They receive a diverse, hands-on introduction to all facets of wastewater treatment. Topics include pretreatment, process control, maintenance, and laboratory operations.

The daily routine includes lessons in wastewater treatment and other environmental topics, such as water quality, ecology, resource conservation, and aquatic life.

The six-week program includes weekly field trips to such environmental destinations as the New England Aquarium, Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, and the Deer Island wastewater plant.

In August the students receive their YEP certificates at a graduation ceremony at the Lowell facility.

The 2017 Youth and the Environment participants are seen here harvesting water chestnuts on the Charles River. This invasive species is detrimental to aquatic ecosystems and the YEP participants did their part to combat the issue. Pictured from left to right are Tyrese Ferreras, Jorgens Fortere, Luis Baez, and Van Soy.

NEIWPCC coordinates the Lowell program with help from the EPA, the Lowell Regional Wastewater Utility, the City of Lowell, and Career Center of Lowell.

A loss of funding led to a two-year hiatus in 2008 and 2009. The program has returned thanks to grants from the EPA to NEIWPCC to oversee the program.

For more information on the Youth and the Environment Program, contact NEIWPCC’s Ben Smith at 978-349-2524 or