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The United States Environmental Protection Agency has awarded Orange County Utilities with a Clean Water Partners for the 21st Century recognition.
Orange County Utilities is among 79 award recipients nationwide.
According to Michael Chandler, director of Orange County Utilities, the county has led the nation in water reclamation since the mid-1980s. As part of that effort, the county has stopped discharging waste water effluent into surface water.
Instead, Orange County Utilities is producing highly treated reclaimed water, which is being used for irrigation, industrial needs and augmenting the aquifer.
The award is part of President Bush's celebration of the "Year of Clean Water," which recognizes extraordinary actions taken by local governments to protect watersheds beyond the requirements of the Clean Water Act.