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Upper/Lower River Road Water and Sewer District in Great Falls recognized for safe drinking water achievements

Release Date: 09/04/2009
Contact Information: Karin Tatum 303 312-7823; Richard Mylott 303 312-6654

(Denver, Colo. -- September 4, 2009) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded the Upper/Lower River Road Water and Sewer District in Great Falls, Montana, with the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) Award for Sustainable Public Health Protection. The District is being recognized for significant investments in safe drinking water, including the extension of municipal water mains to a small unincorporated community adjacent to Great Falls.

    In 2008, the Upper/Lower River Road Water and Sewer District used a DWSRF loan to help extend the municipal water mains to a small community adjacent to Great Falls, Montana. Prior to the extension of these mains, most residents in the community obtained drinking water from shallow wells with deteriorating water quality, including many with a history of elevated nitrate, iron and manganese levels. The new water distribution system ensures that drinking water meeting state and federal regulations is now provided to all homes and businesses in the district.

    "The Upper/Lower River Road Water and Sewer District offers a potent example of the type of investments that will help our nation's communities provide safe drinking water for decades to come," said Carol Rushin, EPA's Acting Regional Administrator in Denver. “The effort that has been made to extend drinking water infrastructure in this area is a clear investment in the future health of residents and the local community."

    Since the first Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) loan was made in 1997, assistance recipients have shown exceptional creativity in designing projects that promote sustainability and protect public health. The 2008 DWSRF Awards for Sustainable Public Health Protection recognize the most innovative and effective projects that further the goal of clean and safe water through exceptional planning, management, and finance.

    The projects had to meet three mandatory criteria to qualify for the Awards, including compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act, financial integrity and public health benefits. In addition, each nominee had to demonstrate leadership in at least one or more of the following criteria: better management practices, full-cost pricing/affordability, efficient water use, watershed approach, innovation in financing, innovative approach to planning and/or project implementation, and the creative use of partnerships.

    The Safe Drinking Water Act, as amended in 1996, established the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program to make funds available to drinking water systems to finance infrastructure improvements. The program also emphasizes providing funds to small and disadvantaged communities and to programs that encourage pollution prevention as a tool for ensuring safe drinking water.

    For more, visit EPA's Drinking Water State Revolving Fund web site.