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Ulman wins award for water quality work

Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, left, and Bethel Korean Presbyterian Church Pastor William Jin, right, tour the three planned bioretention areas.
Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, left, and Bethel Korean Presbyterian Church Pastor William Jin, right, tour the three planned bioretention areas. (Staff photo by Jen Rynda)

Howard County Executive Ken Ulman will be honored for his administration's efforts to improve water quality in the county, officials announced last week.

The Water Environment Foundation, an international organization of water quality experts, has named Ulman the winner of one of its its Public Official awards for 2014.

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"Ken is a leader among leaders within the Chesapeake Bay region in advancing water quality and quality of life," L. Burton Curry, president of the Chesapeake Water Environment Association, said in a statement. "He is deeply committed to creating and funding sustainable improvements that involve all citizens and championing public policy that supports clean water." Curry nominated Ulman for the award.

The organization recognized Ulman for several clean-water initiatives during his time in office, including building a carbon-neutral power backup system for the Little Patuxent Water Reclamation Plant in Savage and creating an Office of Environmental Sustainability and Clean Water Howard, which focuses on preventing pollution from reaching the Chesapeake Bay. 
The award also cited an "effective management of utilities," according to a county press release, which the Water Environment Foundation said was demonstrated by a partnership with National Security Agency in Fort Meade to use treated wastewater from Howard County to cool national security technology at the base. The county will receive $2 million a year for the water, officials said.  
Ulman's time in office has also been marked by the adoption of the stormwater fee, a state-mandated utility derided as a rain tax by critics, which in Howard has been used to fund rain gardens, conservation landscapes, stream restorations and other water-quality projects on public and private land.  
The award will be officially presented at the Water Environment Foundation's annual technical exhibition and conference in New Orleans at the end of the month. 
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