December 22, 2020
Media Contact: Robert Parker, public information officer, Western Region, Robert.Parker@vdh.virginia.gov
Virginia Department of Health Recognizes Washington County Service Authority
(Abingdon, Va.) — The Virginia Department of Health (VDH), Office of Drinking Water and the Washington County Service Authority (WSCA) collaborated with several organizations to help residents receive safe, affordable drinking water along Rattle Creek Road in Washington County. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded WSCA the prestigious Aquarius award for community engagement. The Aquarius award recognizes leadership in innovative financing, partnership, and problem solving while improving water quality and public health protection.
“This award highlights the work of the Office of Drinking Water and many partners to resolve a significant public health concern over access to safe drinking water in the small community,” said State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, MD, MA. “The Virginia Department of Health’s financing partnership with the Department of Housing and Community Development and the EPA provided resources to help pay for extending water lines to the Rattle Creek Road community. Residents can turn on the tap and feel secure that the water is clean and that water will flow instead of trickle.”
“This project demonstrates the innovation that can be achieved through community engagement,” says Kelly Ward, director of the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, Office of Drinking Water, Virginia Department of Health. “WCSA partnered with the community to plan and design a solution, and assist in the search for funding options for this project. The end result provided public health protection in the form of safe and reliable drinking water for this community.”
VDH’s finance construction program helps communities like Rattle Creek resolve public health concerns that the community otherwise could not afford to do. VDH, the Virginia Department of Housing Community Development (DHCD), and WSCA provided substantial help to improve the community’s water infrastructure and water quality. Funding allowed construction of about 6,000 linear feet of waterline and related appurtenances to connect the community to WSCA’s public water system. Completed on September 19, 2019, the new infrastructure replaced contaminated private wells for 15 homes and a church. The Office of Drinking Water’s program provided $223,780 with 27 percent principal forgiveness for the waterline installation. The DHCD’s community block grant program provided $175,000 to install new service lines. WCSA provided $22,500 for planning and design services.
To learn more about VDH’s program to finance water infrastructure projects, visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/drinking-water/fcap/.
For more information about EPA’s Aquarius award, visit www.epa.gov/dwsrf/aquarius.