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Morgan County water committee honored

September 23, 2005|BY TRISH RUDDER

trishr@herald-mail.com

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - The Morgan County Rural Water Committee was honored Thursday for its efforts to protect local drinking water sources.

Rick Rogers, chief of the Drinking Water Branch of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Philadelphia office, presented a source water protection award to local resident Abby Chapple at the Morgan County Commission office on Fairfax Street.

Chapple said she has been a SWAP (Source Water Area Protection) group member for about one year and is focusing on underground gasoline storage tanks that could become a problem.

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She said some tanks around the county have been buried for more than 20 years and could become hazardous because of leakage.

Bert Lustig, the other local resident SWAP member, said his focus is on protecting Warm Springs, the water source for Berkeley Springs Water Works, the water department that supplies water to more than 1,500 customers in Morgan County.

Rogers said "nothing was mandated by law, so communities that adopt and implement ways to protect drinking water is why we are here to recognize their efforts."

"We expect our water to be safe and clean, and we can't take it for granted that it will always be safe," he said.

The water supply was not taken into consideration with the growing development in Morgan County, he said.

"You know where contaminants are, and the local community should be applauded," Rogers said.

"The source water protection award is to encourage neighboring communities to do the same. We recognize all members of the community to help get this award."

Chapple said, "This is everybody's award."

Jack Soronen, chairman of the rural water committee, said the Morgan County Commission established the committee and has been supportive throughout.

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