June 11, 2003

Oak creek Water Utility to receive national award
One of 16 utilities recognized for commitment to improving water quality


OAK CREEK – June 11, 2003 – Oak Creek Water and Sewer will be recognized by the American Water Works Association (AWWA) as one of 16 elite utilities committed to continuously improving water quality beyond current regulatory requirements. As part of the Partnership for Safe Water Program, the “Five-Year Director’s Award” will be presented at an AWWA Annual Conference ceremony in Anaheim, Calif., June 15, 2003.

“Participating in this program over the past five years assures consumers as well as local, state, and federal officials that we are on the leading edge of providing the safest, cleanest drinking water possible at reasonable rates,” said Steven N. Yttri, utility general manager. “The award symbolizes the contributions of all utility employees who seek more effective, efficient ways to produce high quality water.”

According to the most recent AWWA Partnership Annual Report, data from 152 utilities participating in the program show water turbidity decreases of more than 50 percent compared to turbidity levels prior to joining the program. Water turbidity levels indicate water quality.

“These results are even more impressive considering the majority of the water treatment plants, including our own, were performing very well even before joining the Partnership for Safe Water,” said Patrick Francis, utility treatment plant manager. “This program provides us with the latest tools to continuously assess and improve water treatment techniques, enhancing our ability to prevent problems.” 

What is the Partnership for Safe Water?
The Partnership is a voluntary cooperative effort between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), AWWA and other drinking water organizations throughout the
United States. The Partnership goal is to provide a new measure of safety to millions of Americans by implementing prevention programs where legislation or regulation does not exist. The preventative measures are based on optimizing treatment plant performance to increase protection against microbial contamination in America's drinking water supply.

Why was the Partnership formed?
In 1994, the EPA released a report entitled "Strengthening the Safety of Our Drinking Water." This report detailed violations of drinking water standards. The report showed 30 million people ― about 12 percent of America's population ― were served by drinking water systems that violated one or more public health standards. In addition to these findings, the 1993 cryptosporidosis outbreak in Milwaukee and subsequent "boil water" alerts in Washington DC and New York City further emphasized the need for safer drinking water standards. These and other concerns involving water regulations and legislation lead to the Partnership for Safe Water.

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