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EPA recognizes Morgan County Rural Water Committee for protecting sources of drinking water

Release Date: 9/22/2005
Contact Information: Roy Seneca (215) 814-5567

Contact: Roy Seneca 215-814-5567
PHILADELPHIA - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded the Morgan County Rural Water Committee a source water protection award for its efforts to protect local drinking water sources.

“Drinking water is a finite and precious resource so we applaud organizations like the Morgan County Rural Water Committee for taking steps to protect it,” said Donald S. Welsh, regional administrator for EPA’s mid-Atlantic region.

The Morgan County committee was selected for the award because local officials took initiatives to develop an extensive plan on what is needed to protect drinking water in the face of new development throughout the county. Located in the West Virginia’s eastern panhandle, the once rural area is developing into a distant suburb for Washington, D.C.

The committee is working to identify current and future threats to ground water recharge areas, potential impacts on future water and sewer needs, and developing plans to protect the recharge areas. The Morgan County planning commission will use the committee’s research to plan development and to update the county’s comprehensive plan. The group has collected data from existing drinking and ground water studies and will support additional well and spring research to further understand local ground water characteristics.

“The development pressures in the eastern panhandle spurred us to take a comprehensive team approach to protect our precious water resources,” said Abby Chapple, member of the county rural water committee.

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.