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Massachusetts Businesses and Educators Recognized for Conserving and Protecting Drinking Water

Release Date: 05/09/2002
Contact Information: Mark Merchant, EPA Press Office (617) 918-1013 Peter Nugent, Mass. DEP Press Office (617) 292-5616

MANSFIELD, Mass. – At an awards ceremony today at the Holiday Inn in Mansfield, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection recognized outstanding local efforts to conserve and protect drinking water supply sources in Massachusetts.

The certificates were awarded at a Massachusetts Drinking Water Day celebration – part of National Drinking Water Week, which runs from May 5 to May 11 – sponsored by the Massachusetts Drinking Water Education Partnership. EPA recognized two New England businesses and four environmental educators for their volunteer efforts to protect drinking water supplies while DEP recognized 31 public water suppliers for their outstanding work in providing consumers with high quality drinking water.

"Businesses and environmental education are essential to protecting New England's drinking water supplies," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator for EPA's New England office. "Today's award winners are planning wisely by encouraging conservation of their valuable drinking water supplies. As demand for clean water supplies increases, more innovative projects such as these will be crucial to ensure the future of our water supplies."

Lauren A. Liss, commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection said, "These awards recognize the outstanding work done day-in and day-out by water suppliers across the state to ensure clean and safe drinking water in Massachusetts. This responsibility is especially important now as Massachusetts faces one of the most serious droughts to hit the region in years."

The businesses EPA recognized were Bristol Community College and Russell's Garden Center. Both received honor certificates from the Drinking Water Protection Business Program, a cooperative program between EPA and the New England Water Works Association, which credits businesses for voluntary efforts to protect drinking water supplies.

Bristol Community College in Fall River formed the South Watuppa Pond Assessment Network which trains volunteers to monitor the water quality of the pond and works with the city of Fall River to identify potential water quality problems.

Russell's Garden Center was nominated for the honors program by their local water supplier, Sudbury Water District, for sponsoring events such as the "Got Water?" Expo in April. The expo included talks on waterwise landscaping and drought tolerant grass seed. Russell's Garden Center also continually educates customers about water conservation practices such as soaker hoses and rain barrels.

The EPA Environmental Education program awarded two teachers and two public employees for their support for promoting water resource protection. They are:

Mary Hutchings, Truro Central School.
Mary Hutchings coordinated the school's third and fourth grade water science program with "the content focused on water as a resource and the delivery focused on academic research, creative dramatics, art, math, and use of local resources to provide students with a sense of place and an appreciation of water as it impacts their life."

Sandra Curtis, Principal, Dighton Elementary School.
As stated by the Dighton Water District Board of Commissioners, Ms. Curtis "has been and continues to be very helpful in encouraging the students to learn what a valuable asset water is and how they can do their part in ensuring conservation."

Ron Stelline, Mass.DEP.
Ron's teaching includes sessions to elementary students in several cities and towns North of Boston. He has two programs, one on drinking water and the other on watersheds

Robin Fullford, Westford Water Dept.
Robin Fullford organized and participated in a variety of drinking water educational programs among Westford residents and students in 17 fourth grade classes. Teaching about distribution and billing to the water cycle and source protection, these presentations were collaborative efforts with the K-6 Public School Science Coordinator.

More information on the Drinking Water Protection Business Honors Program is available from Ted Lavery, U.S. EPA, at (617) 918-1683.