Thursday, January 21, 2016

7 Montgomery County Municipalities, Philadelphia Join To Restore Wissahickon Creek

A growing number of Montgomery County municipalities in the Wissahickon Creek watershed have passed resolutions to join a new partnership to address unhealthy water quality and reduce damaging floods in the region.
The City of Philadelphia, which gets 10 percent of its drinking water from the Wissahickon Creek, has agreed to participate in the Wissahickon Clean Water Partnership, joining Upper Gwynedd Township, Springfield Township, Abington Township, Ambler Borough, Whitpain Township and Lower Gwynedd Township
"The Wissahickon is in critical condition, and it's not going to clean itself up - we need to take action," said Dennis Miranda, Executive Director, Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association. "This beautiful resource in our backyards is being constantly damaged by polluted runoff and frequent flooding that harms businesses and homes. There is no easy or cheap solution, but now towns and sewer authorities have an unprecedented opportunity to work together to develop our own solutions to finally restore the Wissahickon Creek."
This voluntary partnership would work together with the Department of the Environment to develop a watershed-wide plan to make significant water quality improvements and public investments.
The partnership would evaluate the factors damaging the Wissahickon Creek and discuss different approaches to fixing the problem. The scope would include potential actions to improve water quality, such as streambank and riparian buffer restoration projects, water quality monitoring and a possible timeline.  
The Wissahickon Valley is home to almost a quarter of a million people. In this highly developed area, water running off of roofs, driveways, lawns and parking lots picks up contaminants like motor oil, lawn chemicals, weed killer, pet waste and other pollutants and washes them into local waterways.
Water quality reports show the Wissahickon Creek is unhealthy and even dangerous, with sediment and phosphorus pollution levels that far exceed federal Clean Water Act standards due to decades of poorly planned development, population growth and polluted runoff made worse by ever-increasing storms.
This not only threatens an important source of drinking water, it also causes damaging streambank erosion and flash floods, harms fish and other wildlife and endangers valuable public recreation areas.
Jeff and Margot Clark, who live in Wyndmoor and are volunteer Creek Watchers for the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association, were alarmed by a fish kill last August.
"The Wissahickon Creek looks clean and serene most of the time, but we know it is an impaired stream," said Ms. Clark. "We were shocked to see twenty-one dead fish float by our observation site in less than an hour. These were good-sized fish. If something in the creek is  killing the fish,  then what might that pollutant be doing to us?"
The Wissahickon Creek empties into the Schuylkill River just upstream from a site where the Philadelphia Water Department draws water for one of its drinking water treatment plants.
"As Creek Watchers we are very excited about the partnership and hope everyone can work together to find ways to restore our precious creek, for the health, safety, and welfare of all residents in the watershed."
Sixteen municipalities in the watershed have been asked to join the Wissahickon Clean Water Partnership: Abington Township, Ambler Borough, Cheltenham Township Horsham, Township, Lansdale Borough, Lower Gwynedd Township, Montgomery Township, North Wales Borough, Philadelphia County, Springfield Township, Upper Dublin Township, Upper Gwynedd Township, Upper Moreland Township, Whitemarsh Township, Whitpain Township, and Worcester Township.
Sewer authorities being asked to join are: Abington Township, Ambler Borough, Upper Gwynedd Township and Upper Dublin Township Wastewater Treatment Plants.
"This partnership is a win-win. Local solutions will come from local residents and will be based on what's best for each individual city, township, borough and sewer authority," said Miranda. "This is the moment in time when we all have a chance to protect Wissahickon Creek and the communities in our watershed. This chance may not come again, and we urge all to join the effort."
Click Here for a fact sheet on the Wissahickon Clean Water Partnership.
For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association website.  Click Here to sign up for regular updates from the Association.

No comments :

Post a Comment

Subscribe To Receive Updates:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner