Congressmen Paul E. Gillmor (R-Ohio) and Henry Bonilla (R-Texas) received the 2004 Ground Water Protector Award by the National Ground Water Association (NGWA).
The Ground Water Protector Award recognizes people in government, industry and the private sector for their public service efforts in conjunction with ground water conservation, protection and use.
"Congressman Gillmor truly deserves the title 'Ground Water Protector.' We applaud his support of legislation to protect ground water from contamination by leaking underground gasoline storage tanks," said Larry Lyons, chair of the National Ground Water Association's Government Affairs Committee. Underground storage tanks are the number one source of ground water contamination.
"And Congressman Bonilla has been a faithful supporter of federal funds to help low-income families with their water well needs," Lyons said. "By supporting this legislation, Rep. Bonilla has demonstrated his compassion for families in desperate need. A water well is a lifeline."
Earlier this year President George W. Bush signed a bill supported by NGWA that provides $1 million for loans to low- to moderate-income persons for the installation or improvement of household water wells. That money will be disbursed to eligible organizations that, in turn, will provide low-interest loans for terms of up to 20 years.
Some 3.6 million low- to moderate-income households across the country use outmoded water wells, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Lyons noted that nearly half the U.S. population depends on ground water for its drinking water supply.