Aquarion announces winners of statewide environmental awards

Charles V. Firlotte, President and CEO of Aquarion Water Company, presented the Aquarion Environmental Champion Award in the Student Category to Marissa Peck of Shelton creating a new kind of plastic that would resist degradation in freshwater but would completely degrade in the ocean.

On Saturday, June 3, Aquarion Water Company announced the winners of the seventh annual Aquarion Environmental Champion Awards at a ceremony held at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo, one of which is a student from Shelton High School.

Aquarion accepted hundreds of nominations from across the state in four categories: Business, Non-Profit Organization, Adult and Student (Grade 9-12). The awards recognize volunteer projects that have significantly contributed to the improvement of environmental quality through the protection, conservation, restoration and stewardship of Connecticut’s water, air, soils, and plant and wildlife habitats.

“Aquarion appreciates the many outstanding efforts throughout our state, seeking new ways to preserve Connecticut’s natural beauty and resources,” said Charles V. Firlotte, President and CEO of Aquarion Water Company. “We are pleased to recognize the organizations and individuals who share Aquarion’s commitment to being stewards of the environment by dedicating their time, energy and talents to these important initiatives.”

This year’s $1,000 prize for the student winner was awarded to Marissa Peck of Shelton High School. Using only school science lab equipment and a small grant she won, Peck set out to create a new kind of plastic that would resist degradation in freshwater but would completely degrade in the ocean. Her hypothesis was that a pollution-free polymer created from a simple water-soluble substance, like corn or potato starch, could be coated with a substance that protects it in fresh water but dissolves in salt water. Although her experiment resulted in the creation of plastics that stood up better to salt water than fresh, Peck plans to continue her research to identify a permanent solution for oceanic pollution in college.

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