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Brian Billert, a member of the town of Bennington’s Water Department, flushes the Bolles Brook intake screen Wednesday. The department was recently named Utility of the Year by the New England Waterworks Association in recognition of its work following Tropical Storm Irene. (Peter Crabtree)

BENNINGTON -- The town has won accolades for post-Tropical Storm Irene water management, its website, and energy efficiency.

Getting awards is not uncommon for the town, said Economic and Community Development Director Michael Harrington.

However, "It's rare that you see a municipality get multiple awards in multiple departments all within the same year or cycle," Harrington said Wednesday in an interview.

The Bennington Water Department won "best utility" from the New England Waterworks Association for how it handled the damage caused by Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. In August of that year, a washout on Route 9 severed the town's access to its main water supply, forcing it to rely on water pumped into a reserve tank on Harwood Hill from the Morgan Spring off Gage Street. Residents were asked to conserve water during this time, but no shortage was reported.

"We learned a lot about our water system and a lot about ourselves following Irene," said Terry Morse, water resources superintendent, in a statement. "This award represents the efforts of the entire department and the work they put in every day."

Harrington said the town's website, www.benningtonvt.org, has also been recognized after entering the annual conference of the New England Developer's Association. The site won two awards, the "best in show," and the "president's award."

"It was a really fun project with a lot of possibilities," Harrington said in a release.


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"We were able to use a lot of information that already existed and put a new, user-friendly face on it."

Spectrum Design, a local company, created the new website, according to Harrington, and that same company had fashioned in 2005.

The town has also completed the Efficiency Vermont Energy Leadership Challenge, which led to a reduction of 363,000 kilowatt hours per year by switching the town's 500 street light bulbs to LED.

"We are constantly looking at ways to reduce our carbon footprint," said Larry McLeod, facilities director, in a release. He was credited along with Assistant Town Manager Dank Monks and Working Foreman Mark Sawyer.

Harrington said the awards came in the form of placards and will be displayed in their respective departments.

Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at kwhitcomb@benningtonbanner.com or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.