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Extraordinary Efforts to Protect Watersheds by Three NJ Municipalities Earn Honors from EPA; Groups in Passaic County, Atlantic County and South Bound Brook are "Clean Water Partners"

Release Date: 04/01/2003
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(#03025) New York, N.Y. -- Recognizing the critical role local governments play in protecting our nation's water, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Christie Whitman today honored three municipal government groups from New Jersey for taking extraordinary actions to protect their watersheds. In celebration of the Year of Clean Water, Administrator Whitman designated the Atlantic County Utilities Authority, the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commissioners and the Spruce Run Initiative of South Bound Brook as Clean Water Partners. The three were among 79 national honorees chosen from an applicant pool of 200.

"The Year of Clean Water provides us with a tremendous opportunity to recognize the hard work, sacrifice, and leadership of local agencies from across the country," said Whitman. "These award-winners have set a strong example for future clean water efforts, and we look forward to working with our partners toward our shared goals to reduce water pollution and ensure cleaner, purer water for all Americans."

"These municipalities have made a commitment to protect their watersheds that is above and beyond what the Clean Water Act requires," said Jane M. Kenny, EPA Regional Administrator for New York and New Jersey. "At EPA we know that a key difference between an acceptable watershed protection program and an outstanding one is the attitude of people in local government. For the three winners from New Jersey, water protection is much more than a 9 to 5 job. It's a personal challenge."

Each applicant for the 2003 Clean Water Partners award was screened to ensure it was in compliance with all federal watershed regulations, and applications were reviewed by a panel including representatives of EPA, the Water Environment Federation, the Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies and the National League of Cities.

Descriptions of the New Jersey winners follow:

The Passaic Valley Sewerage Commissioners (PVSC), based in Newark, provides wastewater collection and treatment services for heavily industrialized Northern New Jersey. PVSC is dedicated to improving the local watershed and created the Passaic River/Newark Bay Restoration Program in 1998. It has steadily expanded the program each year. PVSC has sponsored over 200 volunteer shoreline clean ups since 1998, and has removed approximately 700 tons of debris from the Passaic River.

The Spruce Run Initiative, South Bound Brook, recognizes that its water supply is one of New Jersey's most critical resources for future prosperity and environmental quality. The members of the Initiative Bethlehem Township, Glen Gardner Borough, High Bridge Borough, Lebanon Township, Union Township, and the New Jersey Water Supply Authority seek to prevent the degradation and the loss of water supply of the Spruce Run Reservoir by acquiring critical lands in the watersheds that feed it.

The Atlantic County Utilities Authority (ACUA) in Pleasantville has developed a public outreach program to protect local watersheds by educating local residents about how their actions can effect the quality of their drinking water.