Saturday, January 15, 2022

DEP 2022 Water Quality Report Shows 27,886 Miles Of Streams With Impaired Water Quality In PA (33%) - An Increase From 25,468 In 2020

On January 15, the Department of Environmental Protection released the draft
2022 Integrated Water Quality Monitoring Report for public comment showing one-third of Pennsylvania’s streams-- 27,886 miles-- have impaired water quality.  (formal notice)

That’s an increase from the 2020 report which found 25,468 miles of water quality impaired streams making them unsafe for aquatic life, recreation, fish consumption or water supply.

The Water Quality Report includes the accumulated results of water quality stream assessments throughout the Commonwealth.

The report also includes the latest list of those streams and rivers that do not meet one or more of applicable water quality standards-- the Section 303(d).

DEP is scheduled to brief the Water Resources Advisory Committee on January 20 on the draft 2022 Integrated Water Quality Report.

Causes Of Stream Impairment

The three major sources of water quality impairment identified in the 2022 report are-- Abandoned Mine Runoff-- 7,356 miles; Agricultural Runoff-- 6,430 miles; and Stormwater Runoff-- 3,502 miles.

Click Here for a spreadsheet showing all sources of impairment.

The 2020 report found the major sources of impaired water quality were-- Agricultural Runoff 5,765 miles; Abandoned Mine Runoff 5,559 miles; and Stormwater Runoff 3,206 miles.

Check Streams Near You

The draft 2022 report has an interactive report viewer that allows you to zoom in to your own address to see if the streams near you are impaired and why.

Click Here to check out your streams.

Top 25 Counties

The 2022 Report found these counties had the most miles of impaired streams-- Lancaster- 1,286 (89.4% of county streams); Elk- 1,126 (68.4%); Chester- 1,020 (71.9%); Franklin- 928 (54.7%); Allegheny- 915 (66.8%); York- 868 (51.8%; Berks- 828 (64.9%); Bucks- 799 (32.8%); Westmoreland- 732 (32.8%); Dauphin- 718 (66.2%); Clarion- 713 (57.6%); Clearfield- 697 (35.7%); Northumberland- 688 (72.4%); Washington- 684 (34.2%); Montgomery- 640 (74.7%); Adams- 619 (48.2%); Indiana- 587 (31.4%);  Schuylkill- 565 (54.3%; Warren- 540 (31.4%); Erie- 529 (27.4%); Somerset- 524 (24.4%); Perry- 504 (46%); Cumberland- 483 (61.6%); Butler- 452 (28.6%); and Fayette- 425 (26.4%).

Click Here for a spreadsheet showing all county by county impaired stream totals.

The online StoryMap for the report has lots of information and opportunities to take a deep dive into the stream assessment data DEP has collected.

Click Here to review the draft 2022 Water Quality Report.

Public comments on the report will be due March 1.  Visit DEP’s eComment webpage for a copy of the Report and to make comments.

For more information on past reports, visit DEP’s Integrated Water Quality Report webpage.

Briefing On Report

DEP is scheduled to brief the Water Resources Advisory Committee on January 20 on the draft 2022 Integrated Water Quality Report.

The meeting will be held in Room 105 Rachel Carson Building starting at 9:30 a.m.  Click Here for remote attendance options.

For more information and available handouts, visit the DEP Water Resources Advisory Committee webpage.  Questions should be directed to Bob Haines 717-705-4090 or

Potential Solutions

Just sitting in the Senate are two bipartisan bills that would offer significant help in dealing with Pennsylvania’s statewide water pollution problems--

- $500 Million For Local Conservation Projects:  Senators John Gordner (R-Columbia), Bob Mensch (R-Montgomery), Carolyn Comitta (D-Chester) and others have introduced bipartisan legislation proposing to allocate $500 million from the federal American Rescue Plan to fund Growing Greener watershed, farm conservation, mine reclamation and recreation projects in Senate Bill 525Read more here.

--Farm Conservation Cost-Share: Senate Bill 465 (Yaw-R-Lycoming, Comitta-D-Chester) establishes a new program to pay for on-farm conservation measures administered by the State Conservation Commission. Read more here.

Call your Senate member and tell them to urge them to get these bills moving.   Click Here to find your Senator.

Both bills are in the Senate Appropriations whose Majority Chair is Sen. Pat Browne (R-Lehigh). 

To tell Sen. Browne to move these bills, call 717-787-1349 or send email to:  

Sen. Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia) serves as Minority Chair and can be contacted at 717-787-7112 or send email to:

(Photo: Map of streams with impaired water quality from 2022 Report.)

Related Articles:

-- Two Bipartisan Bills Just Sitting In Senate Waiting To Address Record Number Of Water Quality Impaired Streams Reported In 2022 

-- Chesapeake Bay Journal - Karl Blankenship: PA Contends Its New Cleanup Plan Will Meet Chesapeake Bay Goals 

-- DEP Announces How Pennsylvania Will Meet Its 2025 Pollution Reduction Goals in Chesapeake Bay Watershed; All Counties On Board

-- EPA Points To Lack Of Dedicated Farm Cost Share Program As Major Gap In PA's Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan

-- Chesapeake Bay Foundation: Pennsylvania Far Behind Where It Needs To Be In Meeting 2025 Chesapeake Bay Milestones

[Posted: January 15, 2022] PA Environment Digest

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