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Stormwater Utility receives DEP award for environmental partnership

The Huntington Water Quality Board’s Stormwater Utility received an Award of Excellence from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection on Thursday, June 25, for the environmental partnerships it has forged with the community.

Sherry Wilkins, the Stormwater Division’s director, and Brooke Blatt of the Huntington Sanitary Board accepted the award during a ceremony hosted by DEP Cabinet Secretary Randy Huffman in Charleston.

The Stormwater Utility was recognized for working with businesses on stormwater protection plans such as Latta’s on 4th Avenue and for public education efforts such as rain barrel and rain garden demonstrations.

The Stormwater Utility’s post-construction stormwater program is where it has made the largest environmental impact, Wilkins said. The division requires runoff volume reduction facilities at new and redevelopment projects that are 5,000 square feet or more.

“Huntington has transformed itself from being a worst-case example to award-winning leadership,” Mayor Steve Williams said. “While we have a long way to go, we are finally taking significant steps toward addressing our street flooding issues. It’s gratifying that our City Council had the foresight to act for the first time since 1947.”

The DEP’s annual Environmental Awards recognize the accomplishments of state industries, municipalities, educators and community leaders who strive to protect the environment, work to be good corporate neighbors and educate the state’s citizens. The awards are presented to those who share in the DEP’s mission of promoting a healthy environment and practice environmental stewardship.

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