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Martinsburg Wins Award for Protecting Drinking Water

Release Date: 10/12/2001
Contact Information: Roy Seneca, (215) 814-5567

Roy Seneca, (215) 814-5567

PHILADELPHIA – The City of Martinsburg, Berkley County became the first community in West Virginia to be honored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the agency’s program aimed at increasing protection of drinking water sources.

“Drinking water is a finite and precious resource so we applaud communities that are working to safeguard their sources of drinking water,”said Richard Rogers, chief of the drinking water branch for EPA’s mid-Atlantic region. “The fact that citizens of Martinsburg are participating in the city’s protection efforts demonstrates the importance they place on having safe drinking water.”

Martinsburg Mayor George Karos, joined by citizens and others, received the EPA’s Source Water Protection Award that recognizes communities that are taking steps to protect streams, rivers, lakes and underground water sources which people rely on for drinking water.

Martinsburg, one of the fastest growing areas in West Virginia, is a regional hub experiencing a 20 percent population growth rate. The underground aquifer that supplies water to more than 15,000 people faces potential threats of contamination from heavy traffic along Interstate 81, several major railroads and other sources.

The city’s efforts to protect its water source include conducting underground surveys to determine ground water flow and identify locations vulnerable to contamination. City officials and community leaders developed a wellhead protection plan, which proposes ways businesses, public agencies, and residents can protect sensitive areas. Typical plans include zoning ordinances, subdivision rules, and health regulations.

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 water systems and have programs in place for protecting drinking water sources from potential contamination.

EPA’s mid-Atlantic region is presenting one source water protection award to the District of Columbia and each of the states in region, which includes Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.