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EPA signs partnership agreement to help protect drinking water in Potomac River Basin

Release Date: 9/24/2004
Contact Information: Roy Seneca (215) 814-5567

Contact: Roy Seneca (215) 814-5567
BOYDS, Md. – The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency joined representatives of government agencies and water utilities from four states and the District of Columbia in signing a unique partnership agreement that will help ensure that the drinking water sources in the Potomac River Basin are protected from contamination.

“Protecting the sources of our drinking water safeguards both public health and our environment. EPA is thrilled to be a part of this extraordinary partnership to increase our support for the source water protection of the Potomac River Basin,” said Donald S. Welsh, regional administrator for EPA’s mid-Atlantic region.

The EPA is one of 19 partnership members participating in a kick-off event at the Little Seneca Reservoir in Black Hill Regional Park in Boyds, Md. today. The event officially establishes the Potomac River Basin Drinking Water Source Protection Partnership.

The Potomac Basin stretches across parts of four states (Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia) and the District of Columbia. It includes all of the land area where water drains towards the mouth of the Potomac, which spills into the Chesapeake Bay.

The partnership will assist water systems and communities in protecting drinking water sources by developing a basin-wide protection strategy that identifies priorities and coordinates efforts.

EPA is joined in the partnership with representatives from water suppliers and water utilities in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area and state agencies responsible for drinking water protection from Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Other members include the District of Columbia and the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin, which serves as the partnership coordinator.

Formation of the partnership coincides with EPA’s source water protection efforts. 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.