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Baltimore County Receives Award for Safety of Drinking Water

Release Date: 11/16/2005
Contact Information:

Contact: Roy Seneca (215) 814-5567
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded Baltimore County a source water protection award for its efforts to protect the county’s water supply.

“Protecting the sources of our drinking water safeguards both public health and our environment,” said Donald S. Welsh, regional administrator for EPA’s mid-Atlantic region. “We commend Baltimore County for working with local watershed organizations, water suppliers and local governments to help ensure that the county’s drinking water sources are protected,”

Baltimore County received the award for making zoning changes that make source water protection a priority. Specifically, the county increased the acreage of restricted areas surrounding the Loch Raven, Liberty and Prettyboy reservoirs where the county gets most of its water. These zoning restrictions help ensure that the land can not be used for projects or developments that could be a threat to the reservoir.

“Water is necessary to all life and to the livelihood of every Maryland citizen,” said Kendl P. Philbrick, secretary of the Maryland Department of the Environment. “We applaud Baltimore County’s efforts now and over the last three decades to protect the Baltimore metropolitan reservoirs, an important component of the state's efforts to safeguard our drinking water.”

Local citizens groups instrumental in supporting the zoning changes included the Prettyboy Watershed Preservation Society, the Greater Sparks Glencoe Community Association and the Hampton Improvement Association.

“This award is a reflection of more than three decades of unyielding commitment to protecting our water quality through smart resource management and land preservation,” said Jim Smith, Baltimore county executive.

EPA’s source water protection awards encourage communities with public drinking water systems to take steps to protect these sources. The award is open to individuals, and public and private organizations throughout EPA’s mid-Atlantic region, which includes Virginia, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware, the District of Columbia and Maryland.
Recipients have voluntarily gone beyond what the law requires to protect their communities.

In 1996, the federal Safe Drinking Water Act was amended to give greater protection to millions of Americans who rely on public drinking water systems. By law, all states must develop source water assessments for every public water supply, but it is up to the local authorities to develop plans and measures to protect drinking water sources from contamination.