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EPA honors Townsend for drinking water protection

Release Date: 12/4/2002
Contact Information: Roy Seneca 215-814-5567

Contact: Roy Seneca 215-814-5567
PHILADELPHIA - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has presented Townsend, Delaware a source water protection award for adopting a land-use ordinance that includes requirements for new buildings to drain storm water from roofs into underground recharge systems.

“Drinking water is a finite and precious resource so we applaud communities like the Townsend for protecting source water. Townsend’s roof drain system shows how a community can protect drinking water as development occurs nearby,” said Donald S. Welsh, regional administrator of EPA’s mid-Atlantic region.

The town coordinated with the University of Delaware’s Water Resources Agency and New Castle County to develop the ordinance requiring new structures in sensitive “water recharge protection areas” to discharge all roof drains into underground recharge systems. The ordinance also limits construction of impervious surfaces such as parking lots and establishes riparian buffers – which are natural areas that protect drinking water sources from potential pollution sources.

“We know that the health of our community depends upon clean drinking water, so we are committed to protecting the sources,” said Charles Murray, Townsend council president.

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.The award program is getting special emphasis this year as EPA commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Clean Water Act.

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 delineate areas supplying drinking water to public systems, and develop programs to protect drinking water sources from contamination.