Tuesday, July 25, 2017

DEP Reports 19,900 Miles Of Impaired Streams, Rivers To EPA, Lower Susquehanna Listed As Impaired For Recreation Only

The Department of Environmental Protection Tuesday announced it has submitted the 2016 Draft Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, listing the 19,900 miles of impaired waterways in Pennsylvania.
That number is down slightly from the  20,149 miles reported in July of last year in the first draft of this report.
The latest report lists the Lower Susquehanna River as impaired for recreation use, like the draft did, but does not list it as impaired for fisheries as requested by the Fish and Boat Commission, Chesapeake Bay Foundation-PA and numerous other groups. (page 34)
DEP says in the report it is continuing to conduct extensive sampling in the river and has developing a large river assessment protocol which it expects to complete in 2017.  The new assessment method, it said, along with the sampling methodologies and techniques will be made available for public comment in advance of the next integrated Water Quality Report in 2018.  (page 42)
“Pennsylvania is home to more than 86,000 miles of streams and rivers and more than 160,000 acres of lakes, so it is vital that we maintain and monitor these valuable resources,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “This report serves to identify what waters are healthy and what waters need some extra attention.”
Rivers, lakes and streams are assessed in four categories: Aquatic Life, Water Supply, Fish Consumption, and Recreation.
The Integrated Report lists approximately 19,900 miles of streams and waterways as impaired for at least one of their designated uses. The Integrated Report is submitted for review and approval every two years to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Impaired waters can require implementation of a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) if it is clear that a pollutant or pollutants are driving an impairment designation. A TMDL is one of the tools used to reduce pollutants into a waterway from nearby sources.
The Integrated Report also details progress reports of previously implemented TMDLs. Some of the most common pollutant sources are acid mine drainage, agricultural runoff, and urban stormwater runoff.
To reduce pollution in impaired waters, the DEP Bureau of Clean Water will work with local governments and private residents to install best management practices to control and/or treat runoff and improve the quality of the water entering streams and lakes.
Public comment was accepted on the Integrated Report from July 30 – September 12, 2016. DEP received feedback from 21 commentators.
Click Here to view an interactive map of Pennsylvania waterways and impairments. This mapping tool can identify individual stream/river segments and any applicable impairments and their causes.
The full report is posted on DEP’s Integrated Water Quality Report 2016 webpage.
For more information on DEP’s monitoring of the Susquehanna River, visit DEP’s Susquehanna River Study Updates webpage and the Fish and Boat Commission’s Susquehanna River Impairment webpage.
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