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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency presented a source water protection award to New Castle County for taking special initiatives to protect drinking water sources for residents in New Castle County.
"Protecting the sources of our drinking water safeguards both public health and our environment, and we applaud New Castle County for its extraordinary effort," said Donald S. Welsh, regional administrator for EPA's mid-Atlantic region. "Protecting source water makes public health sense, environmental sense and common sense."
EPA selected New Castle County as the Delaware recipient of EPA's source water protection award because of the county's ongoing water protection efforts, which include it's unified development code that requires planners and developers to consider potential environmental impacts when planning new developments. The code especially helps protect environmentally sensitive areas such as floodplains, floodways, wetlands, riparian buffers and vulnerable ground water locations.
"Protecting the environment, particularly the quality and safety of our water resources, was a key element we incorporated into the unified development code," said Thomas P. Gordon, county executive for New Castle County.
EPA's source water protection awards encourage communities with public drinking water systems to take steps to protect drinking water 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.
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 systems, and develop programs to protect drinking water sources from contamination.
Most states, including Delaware, have established wellhead protection programs to protect groundwater supplies of drinking water. Through the Safe Drinking Water Act state revolving fund, Delaware has received more than $4 million from EPA to help Delaware meet this challenge.