Local clean water group wins state Environmental Champion award

The New London Day • 6/8/2011

Clean Up Sound and Harbors of Stonington was among the winners of the Connecticut Environmental Champion Awards, sponsored by Aquarion Water Co.

CUSH was selected Environmental Champion in the nonprofit category and given a $2,500 grant that can be awarded to the environmental nonprofit of its choice, Aquarion said in a news relase. Three other awards were also given by the company, one to a student from Simsbury, another to a resident of Stamford, and the third to a Norwalk company. The ceremony took place Saturday in Bridgeport.

The award program was started this year. Aquarion accepted nominations from across the state to recognize projects that have contributed to the improvement of the environment, the company said. CUSH was recognized for the work its volunteers do to test and monitor the rivers, harbors and other waters in and around Stonington, Mystic and Pawcatuck, including Fishers Island Sound. Established in 2007, CUSH has 150 members and a 10-person board of directors.

CUSH has also worked against increased development in local watersheds, pushed for action to stop raw sewage from draining into the harbor, cleaned out debris from waterways, and educated residents and boaters about environmentally friendly landscaping and general water awareness, Aquarion said.

Presenters for the awards included U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut Post editor Tom Baden and John “Jack” Betkoski, vice chairman of the state Department of Public Utility Control.

Aquarion is the public water supply company for more than 580,000 people in 39 cities and towns in Connecticut. Service areas include Stonington and Mystic.