Four More PA Streams Added to EPA’s List of Cleanup Success Stories
EPA Lauds Improvements to Streams; PA Now Second in U.S. for Restored Water Bodies
HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger today welcomed a new federal report that shows Pennsylvania is now second nationally in the number of waterways that have been restored to health because of the aggressive cleanup efforts by the state and its partners.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report, four Pennsylvania streams that stretch a total of 41.7 miles were added to the list of restored water bodies in 2009: Babb Creek in Tioga County, Gumboot Run in McKean County, Lloydville Run in Blair County, and Sterling Run in Centre County.
“Through the cooperation and hard work of watershed groups, farmers, conservation districts and state government, we are making dramatic improvements to our most polluted waterways, restoring life to once-dead streams, and improving recreational and economic opportunities for our residents,” said Hanger.
The EPA maintains a list of “success stories” on its Web site for formerly polluted streams that have been restored to health. The number of bodies on the list increased from 97 to 172 during 2009. Eighteen of those streams are in Pennsylvania and stretch more than 69 miles throughout the state, which puts the commonwealth second only to Tennessee, which has 19 streams on the list.
The four Pennsylvania streams added this year were once unable to support aquatic life or were severely degraded due to high acidity caused by mine drainage, high concentrations of metals, and silt from coal mines and coal waste piles that were abandoned prior to passage of modern mining laws in 1977.
DEP worked with federal agencies, local volunteer organizations, conservation districts and environmental groups to construct mine drainage treatment plants, reclaim and vegetate abandoned mine lands, and stabilize stream banks to eliminate sources of pollution into these waterways.
Other waterway improvement methods include instituting agricultural best management practices to keep livestock out of streams and reduce sediment and nutrient runoff from fields, planting riparian buffers, building urban stormwater control projects, plugging abandoned oil wells, and making stream channel improvements.
Funding for many of these projects is provided to local watershed groups and conservation districts through the commonwealth.
DEP is responsible for monitoring and protecting water quality in 86,000 miles of rivers and streams in Pennsylvania for recreational, industrial and drinking water uses. The EPA lists more than 16,000 miles of the state’s waterways as impaired.
For more information on DEP’s efforts to improve water quality, visit www.depweb.state.pa.us, keyword: Watershed Management.
To read more about the EPA’s list of success stories, visit www.epa.gov/owow/nps/Success319/index.htm
Media contact: Tom Rathbun, 717-787-1323
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection