Thursday, January 25, 2018

EPA Approves Report Showing 19,900 Miles Of Streams, Rivers Are Polluted In Pennsylvania

The Department of Environmental Protection Thursday announced the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved its most recent 2016 Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment showing 19,900 miles of rivers and streams in Pennsylvania are impaired and do not meet federal water quality standards.
The report is a biennial comprehensive analysis of the water quality status of the more than 86,000 miles of streams and rivers and more than 160,000 acres of lakes in Pennsylvania.

Rivers, lakes, and streams are assessed in four categories: Aquatic Life, Water Supply, Fish Consumption, and Recreation.
The 2016 Integrated Report lists approximately 19,900 miles of streams and waterways as impaired for at least one of their designated uses.
The report evaluates whether a waterbody is achieving the water standards that protect and provide clean water. It is not an advisory to avoid contact with the surface waters, instead it identifies waters that require controls and/or best management practices to restore clean water.
“EPA views the 2016 Integrated Report as an accurate snapshot of the Commonwealth’s water quality,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “DEP will continue to use all available data in its ongoing effort to evaluate and improve the quality of surface water in the Commonwealth.”
By accepting the report, EPA agrees with DEP’s decision to maintain Category 3 status-- unassessed due to insufficient information-- for the Susquehanna River. The decision is based on rebounding smallmouth bass populations, and supported by data provided by DEP and the Fish and Boat Commission.  (Click Here for more information from DEP.  Click Here for more information from the Commission.
DEP, PFBC, and other agencies and organizations collaborated and used EPA’s Casual Analysis/Diagnosis Decision Information System analysis (CADDIS) to finalize an analysis of potential stressors impacting the health of the smallmouth bass in the river.
DEP is committed to continue to monitor the river’s water quality to ensure smallmouth bass populations and health continue to improve.
DEP collected data from a variety of sources in compiling the report. Those sources included government agencies, academic institutions, advisory groups, citizen monitoring groups, watershed associations, public interest and sportsmen groups.
EPA concluded that DEP properly assembled and evaluated all existing and readily available data and information. DEP will be publishing three new assessment methods in the coming months to advance its ability to accurately assess surface waters.
Impaired waters can require development of a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) if a pollutant or pollutants is the reason for an impairment listing. A TMDL is one of the tools used to reduce pollutants into a waterway from nearby sources.
Some of the most common pollutant sources are abandoned mine drainage, agriculture runoff, and urban stormwater runoff. The DEP Bureau of Clean Water will work with the public and local governments to install best management practices to control and/or treat runoff and improve the quality of the water entering streams and lakes.
Click Here for a copy of the full report. Click Here for an interactive map of Pennsylvania waterways and impairments can be found. This mapping tool can identify individual stream/river segments and any applicable impairments and their causes.
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