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NEW ENGLAND BUSINESSES RECEIVE DRINKING WATER SOURCE PROTECTION AWARDS

Release Date: 10/30/1996
Contact Information: Frank McIntyre, Office of External Programs, (617) 918-1095

BOSTON --- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the New England Water Works Association (NEWWA) presented awards to nine New England businesses in recognition of their partnership efforts with local drinking water systems.

The first New England Drinking Water Source Protection Business Awards, presented during an October 28 ceremony, acknowledged businesses which demonstrate that they recognize the importance of prevention and are taking action to protect drinking water sources.

EPA established the business awards as a way to educate the business community about drinking water protection and to encourage partnerships between businesses, water suppliers, and communities by recognizing and sharing successful case studies of business public drinking water protection practices. NEWWA assisted in the development and implementation of the awards program.

The winners of the business awards and basis for recognition include:

Anheuser-Busch, Merrimack, N.H. for its efforts to protect the drinking water of communities along the Merrimack River through its storm water management program and assistance to local community groups. The facility's stormwater management controls, containment efforts, and comprehensive management plan work to capture all of the stormwater that is associated with the plant's activity, and thus avoids degradation of water quality. Anheuser-Busch works closely with the Pennichuck Water Works on water quality issues, and is an active participant in local decision-making.

GTE Laboratories, Waltham, Mass. for the partnership it established with the Cambridge Water Department to protect drinking water quality. At the request of the Cambridge Water Department, GTE installed a pilot storm water treatment system at its site. This treatment system protects Hobbs Brook, which runs through GTE's site and feeds into the City of Cambridge's water supply. The water department routinely offers tours of the GTE facility and pilot stormwater system to demonstrate practices which fellow businesses and others may take to protect their water supply. GTE is also a member of a spill response team with the water department and several other authorities to ensure effective coordination in the event of a spill.

Jackson Farms, Marlboro, Mass. for producing high quality corn and hay products without the use of pesticides. Run as a family farm, 20 acres of its fields are located directly across the street from Lake Williams, a public water supply for the Town of Marlboro. Jackson Farms is one of the only growers of sweet corn in New England to use no pesticides, and instead relies on more labor intensive cultivation practices for weed control. Donald Jackson, an owner of the farm, acknowledges that he saves money by not buying pesticides, but the time spent and extra labor are considerable. He believes the need to protect the drinking water supply justifies the extra work. A long-time member of the local Conservation Commission, his philosophy is that "If you're going to tell others what to do, you ought to be doing it yourself." The Jacksons are well known and respected by both public officials and their agricultural peers, and we are pleased to acknowledge their life-long commitment to protecting open space, the environment, and most especially Lake Williams.

Marini Farm, Ipswich, Mass. for producing bedding plants, fruits and vegetables with a minimum of pesticides to help protect both surface and ground water drinking supplies. Mr. Marini uses a combination of available techniques to lessen the impact of his operations on water quality. He covers crops used in fields that are most vulnerable to erosion, rotates crops which require more pesticide use to fields located outside the water supply protection areas, and instead of applying pesticides to his crops on a fixed schedule, monitors pest populations on the crops to ensure that pesticides are only used when and where a problem has been identified. These techniques are more costly and labor intensive, and show his commitment toward protecting the area's drinking water supplies. Mr. Marini is also active with many local boards and organizations including the local Board of Health and Conservation Commission, agricultural associations, the Natural Resource Conservation Service, and the Cooperative Extension Service.

O'Donals Nurseries, Gorham, Maine for setting an excellent example of a partnership between a business and a water supplier, and an example of how a business can tailor its commercial activity to meet a drinking water protection need. The Portland Water District wanted to encourage the planting of buffer strips by lakefront homeowners to protect the water quality of Sebago Lake. O'Donals Nurseries recognized the importance of this activity, and provided extensive technical input to the effort. They helped develop a display for their store promoting lakeside buffers and appropriate use of chemicals, developed a list of useable plants for these buffers, and provided speakers at several meetings to encourage use of buffers. In conjunction with the water district's Plant Grant Program, O'Donals carries and markets special plant materials to correct erosion problems and improve existing buffers. Thanks to their efforts the buffer planting program has been very successful.

Polaroid Corporation, Norwood Mass. facility for the outstanding educational efforts of Kate Stewart, the site environmental manager, and its actions to reduce pollution on-site in Norwood. Located along a tributary to the Neponset River and its highly productive aquifer system, Polaroid's Norwood facility eliminated discharge of its process water through recirculating its process water, and has improved training, site controls, and maintenance practices on-site to minimize spills. Through Kate's efforts, Polaroid's Norwood facility encourages other businesses to help protect the region's water sources through participating in local educational events like the Canton Rotary River Day, which was held in the town's wellhead protection area. The facility has also hosted environmental workshops for area businesses, and actively works with its local watershed association and schools.

The World Store, Wickford, R.I., a small business with just 4 employees, has been a tireless supporter of environmental issues for years. It specializes in the sale of environmentally sensitive and educational products. Drinking water protection is promoted through the sale of water conservation devices, posting of relevant announcements on a community bulletin board, providing one-on-one counseling on drinking water issues, referrals, and posting of educational materials and meeting announcements in local newspapers and newsletters. Dale and Jim Grogan, owners of the store, are also part of a local volunteer monitoring program, the results of which were used to develop more accurate ground water recharge delineations for a community. The store also strongly supports environmental education in the local schools, and sales of specially produced items will be donated to support implementation of a local environmental school curricula. The Grogans are active on many local boards, including the North Kingstown Ground Water Committee, Zoning Board of Review, Conservation Commission, Land Conservancy, and others.

True Value Hardware, Raymond, Maine for its partnership with the Portland Water District and its efforts to educate local residents and tourists about the importance of protecting their drinking water supply, Sebago Lake. The business sponsored an Earth Day event with the Portland Water District and University of Maine Cooperative Extension Service, by reserving their optimum floor space for holding free consultations between environmental experts and local residents about ways to garden without impacting water quality. Since that time, they have used this space for an environmental display, called "Our Environment Begins in Your Yard." The display includes ever-changing environmental themes related to protecting Sebago Lake. Realizing that "people save their most scientific questions about the use of chemicals and other materials for staff of their local hardware store", the business is currently coordinating with the Portland Water District to provide staff training about household hazardous wastes and more environmentally-friendly alternatives. The store is an example of how a small business can make a difference by educating people in their community.

Sagamon Spring Water of Vermont, Inc., Rutland, Vt. has demonstrated that effective protection is best accomplished through developing strong partnerships with nearby landowners and townspeople. Wishing to develop a spring source and realizing the need for protection against contamination, the business' owners met with nearby landowners and townspeople to hear their concerns and negotiated agreements to restrict application of nitrogen, pesticides and herbicides, vehicle use, chemical and fuel storage, and other activities in their protection area. The business also helps promote the state's water supply program through providing tours of its facility to other water suppliers and sharing its approach to water supply protection.

For more information on the New England Drinking Water Source Protection Business Awards, contact MaryJo Feuerbach, US EPA Region 1, NE Office, at (617)565-4721 or Ronald Bergman, US EPA Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water at (202)260-4383.