For Immediate Release
December 31, 2008

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

KDHE Recognizes Public Water Supply Systems for Excellence

Capacity Development Achievement Awards Given to Systems that Exceed Federal
Safe Drinking Water Act Requirements

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) will award ten public water supply systems with the second annual Capacity Development Achievement Awards. The award program is the first of its kind in the country, and is designed to encourage public water systems to go beyond mere compliance with the Safe Water Drinking Act (SWDA).

“This unique awards program serves as a positive means for encouraging systems to not just meet the standards, but to exceed them,” stated John Mitchell, Director of the KDHE Division of Environment.  “We’re extremely pleased with the results that we’re seeing from communities, and look forward to presenting many more of these awards in coming years.”

The 2008 Capacity Development Achievement Awards will be presented to the following recipients:

Up to five Capacity Development Awards per year are given for systems serving 500 residents or less. Up to five additional awards are given for systems serving populations of between 501 and 3,300 residents. No more than one award each is granted every year for systems serving between 3,301 and 10,000 people; and for 10,001 or more people. In addition, no more than one wholesale water district receives an award each year.

The awards are made possible using EPA funds that are allocated to states, and are just one of many activities that KDHE performs for the purpose of ensuring compliance with the SDWA. The majority of SDWA compliance activities performed by KDHE include monitoring public water supplies for health and safety, administering low-interest loans to communities that enable them to upgrade and maintain their public water supply treatment systems and providing training and technical assistance to public water supply operators.

The federal SDWA was passed by Congress in 1974 and amended in 1996. The amendments required states to put strategies in place that help public water systems maintain technical, financial and managerial capacity. Originally, the SDWA focused primarily on treatment as the means of providing safe drinking water at the tap. The 1996 amendments greatly enhanced the existing law by recognizing source water protection, operator training, funding for water system improvements and public information as important activities for ensuring safe drinking water from source to tap.