2020 Public Water System Awards

An annual recognition of public water systems and certified operators

Update: The Annual Public Water System Awards ceremony that was planned for May 5th, 2020 will not take place due to COVID-19.  The Committee will regroup when things return to normal to figure out how to properly recognize the Public Water Systems who achieved excellent compliance in 2019.

The annual Public Water System Awards Program will be held at the Springfield Technical Community College on May 5, 2020 in Springfield, MA.  Come and enjoy the ceremony and a light lunch.

The sponsors of this event are: Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), USEPA Region 1, Massachusetts Water Works Association (MWWA), New England Water Works Association (NEWWA), RCAP-Solutions, Mass Rural Water Association, Barnstable County Water Utilities Association, Middlesex/Worcester County Water Works Association, Plymouth County Water Works Association, and Western Mass Waterworks Association.

All community (COM) and non-transient non-community (NTNC) public water systems (PWS) are eligible for an award.  In addition to the Public Water Systems Awards, systems can be nominated for recognition in the areas of Water Conservation, Source Protection, Regional Recognition, and Distinguished Operator status.  The recipients for these nominated categories will be selected by the four MassDEP Regional Offices and MassDEP Boston.  No applications are required for any of the 2020 recognized categories.

Table of Contents

Water Conservation Recognition

A system will be recognized for their water conservation and Water Management Act permit implementation efforts in 2018.  This award is limited to systems subject to the Water Management Act permit registration.  The recipient will be notified in April and personally invited to come to the awards ceremony in May.

Additional Resources

Energy Conservation Recognition

A system will be awarded for working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing annual electric consumption (via energy audits or in-house evaluations), completed assessments for renewable and clean energy possibilities (e.g., but not limited to solar, wind, outfall turbines, combined heat and power), and show leadership in implementing energy-related projects in 2019.  The recipient will be notified in April and personally invited to come to the awards ceremony in May.

Additional Resources

Source Protection Recognition

There will be up to four Source Protection Awards given.  Each MassDEP Regional Office may nominate one PWS that showed exemplary source protection measures in 2019.  The recipient will be notified in April and personally invited to come to the awards ceremony in May.

Additional Resources

Regional Recognition

This is a regional recognition. Each MassDEP Regional Office may select one PWS in their region that has performed a commendable job running their public water system in calendar year 2019.  The system may be a most improved system, has overcome a major emergency, upgraded their system, or performed an activity that sets them apart from other water systems. Recipients will be notified in April and personally invited to come to the awards ceremony in May.

Additional Resources

Distinguished Operator Performance Recognition

Anyone can nominate an operator(s) for their outstanding work done in the drinking water field during calendar year 2019.  Please write a narrative on why the operator is deserving of the recognition and send into Program.Director-DWP@mass.gov by March 20, 2020 to be included in the nominated reviews.

Additional Resources

STAR L Recognition

Systems Taking Action to Reduce Lead in Schools is a dual citation given to a PWS and a school system that worked in tandem to reduce lead in school drinking water.  The systems are nominated by their peers or themselves detailing their efforts in reducing g lead in school drinking water.

Additional Resources

Public Water Systems Award

This is the compliance-based Award Program. The state data bases are queried for compliance information. The highest-scoring PWSs will be recognized.  This is usually around 30 systems, and will be split among NTNC, small COM (<3,300 population), medium and large COM (3,301 and over population), and consecutive systems.  Scores are tabulated on a point system based on the following criteria:

  1. The system must be in compliance with the drinking water regulations for all of calendar year 2019.  MassDEP will query the state database for any non-compliance.  A system will usually fall out of contention for an award due to any noncompliance, be it a report not sent in on time, a maximum contaminant level (MCL) violation, a higher-level enforcement (HLE), etc.  See chart on following page for compliance activity points.

    Note: it is very important to correct any inconsistencies in your record of compliance.  See EPA's website (SDWIS Federal Reports Search (epa.gov)) for a review of this information. Contact your regional MassDEP office immediately if you have any questions or corrections regarding your compliance history since this information determines your qualification in the awards program.
  2. To break the ties that arise we may look at the following PWS actions or program involvement, such as: The systems’ Capacity rating, enforcement actions for the last five years, records of the system analyzing and reporting samples for the full suite of secondary contaminants, signing-up for the HHAN or WARN systems, etc.  Using this criterion will show which systems took the initiative to venture above and beyond compliance.

Additional Resources

Additional Information

Systems that have won for three consecutive years will not be eligible to win for a fourth year. They will, however, be issued a letter of commendation and personally invited to attend the Awards Program. The system will be eligible again in the fifth year, after this one-year hiatus.

If you have any questions about the annual awards program, please contact Marie Tennant at 617-292-5885 or Marie.Tennant@mass.gov.

Additional Resources

Contact for 2020 Public Water System Awards






























Help Us Improve Mass.gov with your feedback