EPA Recognizes Sioux Falls, Minnehaha Corp. for Excellence

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized the city of Sioux Falls wastewater utility and the Minnehaha Community Water Corporation for significant and innovative investments in clean water and safe drinking water in separate ceremonies last week in Sioux Falls, S.D.

The city was recognized for achievements in improving water quality with EPA's Performance and Innovation in the State Revolving Fund Creating Environmental Success (PISCES) Award. Minnehaha received EPA's Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Award for Sustainable Public Health Protection.

Brad Johnson, chair of the State Board of Water and Natural Resources, presented the national awards. Sioux Falls Mayor Dave Munson accepted the PISCES award and Lloyd Rave, Minnehaha Community Water Corporation president, accepted the award for Sustainable Health Protection.

“These water utilities offer potent examples of the type of innovation that will help our nation's communities secure clean water and drinking water for decades to come," said Carol Rushin, EPA's acting regional administrator in Denver. “The city of Sioux Falls and Minnehaha Community Water Corporation have taken clear and proactive steps to improve water quality and protect public health."

Sioux Falls has earned the PISCES award by being the first city in the state to receive funding through South Dakota's new Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) nonpoint source incentive rate program, which rewards wastewater and stormwater projects with a lower loan interest rate for activities that directly address nonpoint sources of pollution in local waters. Nonpoint source pollution includes runoff from urban and rural areas that enters surface waters. In 2008, Sioux Falls' wastewater utility secured loans totaling approximately $57 million to fund storm sewer improvements and the construction of a new sanitary sewer, while simultaneously contributing over $4 million to best management practices for the Central Big Sioux River Watershed Restoration project.

The Minnehaha Community Water Corporation is a regional water provider that has used Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (DWSRF) to develop and implement a strategy to reduce levels of radionuclides, nitrate, iron and manganese in the water supplies of two local communities. Minnehaha expanded its water supply, water treatment, and delivery system to provide water that is compliant with Safe Drinking Water Act regulations to the towns of Garretson and Colton. This project provided a regional solution to water quality problems that offers clear public health benefits for those served by the waster system.

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