By Marigrace Heyer
The Times News, © 2002

October 10, 2002

The Carbon County Groundwater Guardians recently received national recognition from the Nebraska-based Groundwater Foundation, which designated the county as a “Groundwater Guardian Community.” This is the third consecutive year the local group has received the award. To celebrate that recognition as well as the county’s receipt of the Governor’s Award for Watershed Stewardship earlier this year, members of the group invited the public to celebrate with them Monday evening at the Carbon County Environmental Education Center.

While guests enjoyed pizza and soft drinks, the conversation was primarily about groundwater conservation.

“The greatest threat to our groundwater and water supply is failing individual household septic systems,” said Frank Waksmunski, president of the Carbon County Groundwater Guardians.

The organization, Waksmunski said, is a non-profit group designed to encourage citizen involvement in groundwater protection at the local level.

With the receipt of the Groundwater Guardian Community national award, Carbon County will be recognized for its work on behalf of groundwater at the National Groundwater Guardian Designation Ceremony Nov. 17-20 at the Valley River Inn, Eugene, Ore., held in conjunction with the Groundwater Foundation’s National Conference.

The Carbon County organization promotes good groundwater stewardship through its efforts to educate local residents on a variety of groundwater issues, endorse a county-wide recycling program for household hazardous waste, and encourage increased awareness and involvement of county residents by providing private well water testing at a reduced cost.

During the past year the Carbon County Groundwater Guardians initiated well water testing by students at all high schools in Carbon County. They produced a series of articles for local newspapers, maintained and updated a web site, offered a low cost well water testing program for homeowners, and sponsored a Groundwater Awareness Day for elementary school students.

In addition, the Guardians conducted household hazardous waste recycling and community outreach programs, and obtained federal 501 non-profit and state sales tax exempt status.]The Carbon County Groundwater Guardians received a grant of $7,500 from the Pa. Department of Community and Economic Development in 2001 and in 2000 was named the Conservation Organization of the Year by the Carbon County Conservation District.