HARRISBURG, Pa. – Shannon Gority, executive director for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) in Pennsylvania, said that an increase in the number of miles of impaired waters listed in the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Draft 2020 Integrated Water Quality Report sends a clear message that not enough is being done to clean and protect Commonwealth rivers and streams.
DEP’s latest biennial report lists 25,468 miles of Pennsylvania waters, 5,500 miles more than in its 2016 report, as being harmed by pollution.
The report found that nearly 30 percent of Pennsylvania’s rivers and streams do not meet water quality standards for water supply, aquatic life, recreation, or fish consumption.
The top three major sources of water quality impairment identified in the 2020 report are: agricultural runoff, 5,765 miles; abandoned mine runoff, 5,559 miles; and stormwater, 3,206 miles.
In response to DEP’s latest report, Shannon Gority said:
“As the number of polluted waters continues to grow in Pennsylvania, it is past time for elected leaders at the state and federal levels to provide the leadership, funding, and technical support needed to get the Keystone State back on track toward reaching its Clean Water Blueprint goals by 2025.
“Farmers in Pennsylvania recognize the value of keeping soil on the land and not in the water, but they cannot pay for it all themselves.
“Meanwhile, the Commonwealth’s watershed implementation plan would achieve only 73 percent of its nitrogen-reduction commitment and has a funding shortfall of $324 million a year.
“Following through on the commitment to clean and protect our rivers and streams is vital to our health and economic well-being.”
The Draft 2020 Integrated Water Quality Report can be found here.
–BJ Small, Chesapeake Bay Foundation