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Public invited to learn about drinking water protection

West Virginia Rivers Coalition, the cities of Lewisburg and Alderson, and 10 local partners will host two free public forums on how citizens can get involved in drinking water protection: Apr. 30, 1-3 p.m., at Alderson’s Visitors’ Center and Apr. 30, 5-7 p.m., at the Greenbrier Valley Visitors’ Center in Lewisburg.

The events focus on how Greenbrier County residents and businesses can help the water utilities shape their source water protection plans. A law passed after the 2014 Charleston water crisis requires public water systems to submit a source water protection plan by July 1, 2016. The law also requires water utilities to involve the public in crafting the plans.

Lewisburg’s Mayor John Manchester stresses the importance of these plans, “During the diesel spill last year, Lewisburg water customers experienced what happens when our water source is contaminated. Developing this source water protection plan will help us prepare for and avoid similar events in the future.”

The cities of Lewisburg and Alderson and Big Bend Public Service District are preparing plans now and will be present at the forums to provide information and answer questions. At the forum, water customers will learn about what goes into the plans and how to provide input on the plans. They will also learn how everyone can help utilities identify potential threats to drinking water.

The events feature exhibits by local water utilities, watershed organizations, and other agencies and organizations that work to promote clean water. The event also includes “Drinking Water Jeopardy,” an interactive game based on the popular game show. A free guide on how citizens can get involved in drinking water protection will be given to event attendees.

“When you experience a water contamination event, you come to realize the value of clean drinking water,” said Angie Rosser, executive director of the West Virginia Rivers Coalition. “Following Charleston’s water crisis, a new law gives the public a voice in drinking water protection. Our Safe Water events are an engaging way for people to learn how to get involved.”

The Apr. 30 events are part of WV Rivers Coalition’s Safe Water for West Virginia Program, which facilitates public participation in drinking water protection.

More information is available at www.wvrivers.org/make-a-difference/source-water-protection.

 

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