The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency presented a source water protection award to the Town of Luray, Page County, Va. for its effort to protect drinking water sources.
"Protecting the sources of our drinking water safeguards both public health and our environment, and we applaud the Town of Luray for its extraordinary effort," said Donald S. Welsh, regional administrator for EPA’s mid-Atlantic region.
EPA selected Luray for the award because the town took initiative to purchase 30 acres of property adjacent to the spring that is the main water source for the town. The property is a karst area where limestone, which is easily dissolved, can form ravines, sinkholes and caverns. As a result, groundwater in a karst area is especially vulnerable to pollution.
The property was primarily used for cattle grazing and by acquiring the land, the town has reduced the potential for contamination of the spring. The $135,000 to buy the land came from the Virginia Water Supply Assistance Grant Fund Program, which received funding from EPA.
"We know that the health of our community depends upon clean drinking water, so we are committed to protecting the sources," said Jerry Schiro, Luray town manager.
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. Recipients have voluntarily gone beyond what the law requires to protect their communities.
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 develop source water assessments for every public water supply, but it is up to the local authorities to develop plans and measures to protect drinking water sources from contamination.