A clean water campaign featuring rubber duckies as stand-ins for pollution has garnered an award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA will present the ThinkBlue Maine Partnership – which includes Lewiston, Auburn and Sabattus – with an Environmental Merit Award today in Boston. The group is being honored for making significant contributions toward preserving and protecting natural resources.

The campaign encourages people to keep gutters, sidewalks and streets free from garbage, oil and chemicals. Like rubber duckies, such pollution floats and gets carried into water systems by runoff.

“Polluted stormwater negatively impacts aquatic life and can harm the overall beauty and recreational appeal of water bodies,” Lewiston Public Services Director David Jones said in a prepared statement. “It can also result in beach closures, swimming bans, algal bloom, shorefront property value decline and contamination of drinking water.”

The ThinkBlue Maine Partnership also includes water quality groups in Bangor and southern Maine and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

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