On December 16, 2002, Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger was presented with a Wisconsin Clean Water Achievement Award at a reception hosted by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in Madison. The special recognition program was created by the DNR to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the federal Clean Water Act and to identify individuals and organizations who have played key roles in Wisconsin’s quest for clean water. Recipients were identified by DNR staff for their contributions to Wisconsin’s clean water achievements.

“Wisconsin has had a long and proud tradition of caring, deeply, for our natural resources, with a special emphasis on the state’s remarkable water resources,” Susan Sylvester, DNR Division of Water director, told award winners. “You have been a part of the remarkable efforts Wisconsin has made over the past decades, and which continue today. We are proud to be able to recognize your achievements.”

Sen. Gaylord Nelson, legislators, university professors, wastewater plant operators, educators, organizations, lake volunteers and, past and current Department of Natural Resources employees, were among those receiving state awards for their contributions to cleaning up and protecting the state’s lakes, rivers and wetlands in the last 30 years.

“The award is given in recognition of CSWAB’s work to engage and work cooperatively with community members, other organizations, and tribes throughout Wisconsin to protect the state’s water resources,” Sylvester said.

CSWAB was organized in 1990 when rural neighbors discovered their drinking water wells were polluted with high levels of carcinogenic solvents. Carbon tetrachloride, trichloroethylene, and chloroform were detected in the water supplies of three farm families at levels 15 times the safe standard. Toxins resulting from 50 years of weapons manufacturing from the nearby Badger Army Ammunition Plant had moved undetected through the groundwater, poisoning drinking water wells more than a mile away.

Over the years CSWAB has served as a powerful and steady voice for reducing risks to human health and natural systems, strengthening community-based work for environmental justice, and creating opportunities for the public to have a voice in the debate around the protection of human health and the environment.

A second award was presented to CSWAB’s Executive Director Laura Olah for her contributions to environmental justice and her work to preserve and protect Wisconsin’s water resources.