August Feature: Water Suppliers Give Thumbs Up to Partnership in Lower Susquehanna River Basin
By Pat Devlin
Water systems throughout the lower Susquehanna region came together with SRBC, PA DEP, EPA and other stakeholders, to discuss and share ideas about collaborative approaches to protect drinking water from pollution in an area that serves 3.9 million people with tap water.
|A source water protection meeting was held in February 2012.|
The tap water we all take for granted didn't necessarily start out so clean. It may have passed through farm fields and construction sites, over ice-covered roads laden with salt, through over-fertilized lawns and broken septic fields, or past a leaking underground storage tank before it was pumped into the local water treatment plant.
If public water suppliers can help keep these and other man-made influences in check prior to the waters reaching their treatment facilities, then the cost to monitor and treat raw water for human consumption at the plants is significantly reduced. Protecting drinking water sources from contamination can be a challenging task in the lower Susquehanna River region where 50 percent of the land is in agriculture and water-cleansing forest cover is the lowest compared to other portions of the river basin. The lower Susquehanna River region is home to the basin's largest population centers and fastest-paced development. Nearly half of the river basin's population (44 percent) live and work in these parts of Pennsylvania and Maryland. Add southern Delaware County's dependence on the Susquehanna River for public water supply and the City of Baltimore's use during times of drought and that's 3.9 million people relying on this lower Susquehanna region for safe drinking water. Read more...
Contaminants Found in PA Waters According to USGS Report
Low concentrations of different contaminants, including pharmaceuticals, hormones and organic wastewater compounds, were detected in rivers and streams throughout Pennsylvania during a four year study, according to a U.S. Geological Survey and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection publication released this month.
In addition to the types and concentrations of contaminants found, the study also looked at their likely sources as well as potential impact on aquatic life.
Click here to read more. The full report is available online.
Develop Your Skills with New Drinking Water Protection Webinar Series
Learn the latest with the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators new series of five free webinars that will share lessons learned across eight states to protect water from pollution. The series is called: "Findings from the Enabling Source Water Protection Project."
REGISTER NOW at www.asdwa.org/swwebinars. Registration is open to anyone who would like to participate!
The Enabling Source Water Protection team, led by The Trust for Public Land and the Smart Growth Leadership Institute, with support from the River Network and the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators, worked with eight state partners over three years on projects to improve drinking water source protection. The team will share important information about what they have learned this fall. Mark your calendar and get up to speed!
For more information about the state projects, visit the project web site at www.landuseandwater.org. For questions, please contact Kelley Hart at Kelley.Hart@tpl.org or 415-800-5201.
Youth Water Educators Invited to "Dive Deeper" with
Educators who teach youth about water resources can get useful information to help plan their curricula by attending "Dive Deeper," a youth water education summit to be offered Sept. 27 by Penn State Extension. The event will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Best Western Premier -- The Central Hotel and Conference Center in Harrisburg, Pa.
Online registration for the summit is available until Sept. 23. Program details also are available at the website.
Dive Deeper will be a one-day summit with keynote speakers, multiple break-out sessions, educational displays and lunch. "Dual keynote speakers will kick the program off," said Sanford Smith, extension youth education specialist. "Bryan Swistock, water resources extension specialist, will start the morning talking about current and emerging water-resources issues in the mid-Atlantic region. "Immediately following, Edward Bender, a Penn State extension educator and the 4-H science manager of professional development and partnerships at National 4-H Council, will present 'Inquiry-based learning - What's the big deal?'"
Additional program information can be obtained by contacting Jennifer Fetter at 4HWater@psu.edu or Sanford Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
DEP Offers Training for Residents with @Home Webinars - Coming Up: Focus on Water Wellness
Homeowners across Pennsylvania have asked for helpful information about important residential environmental topics -- private wells, septic systems, and more. Now DEP offers homeowners the ability to tune in and learn right from the easy chair. Share this valuable information with your community. Help your community get up to speed with the next program on Water Wellness.
Join experts from the Department of Environmental Protection and Penn State Extension's Master Well Owner Network on Wednesday, September 19th, for an informative webinar about keeping your on-lot septic and private water systems problem-free. Learn how to avoid malfunction, prevent contamination, conserve water and reduce waste flow.
The webinar will take place from 7 to 8 p.m. Attendees can participate from the convenience of their home computers.
There are over one million private water wells in Pennsylvania. Research has shown that more than 50 percent of these private water systems fail to meet at least one drinking water standard. Properly maintaining private water and sewage systems is essential to ensure good family health.
Featured speakers include Bryan Swistock of the Pennsylvania Master Well Owners Network and John Diehl of DEP's Bureau of Point and Non-Point Source Management.
The Master Well Owners Network seeks to train volunteers throughout Pennsylvania to help educate rural homeowners on the proper management of private water wells. The Bureau of Point and Non-Point Source Management is an office within the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection that ensures safe water practices throughout the state.
The webinar is the second in a series of webinars produced by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. They are aimed at educating families about improving their home environment and safeguarding their health. Future topics will focus on energy conservation and radon testing and mitigation.
This webinar is free and open to any and all interested residents. To register for the webinar, click here.
If you are unable to participate on Sept. 19, or for more information, please visit www.dep.state.pa.us and click the "DEP@Home" button on the homepage.
Schuylkill Shots Competition
Photographers of all ages can put their picture-taking skills to the test and participate in the first ever "Schuylkill Shots" Photo Contest. In addition to having your photo selected as a "top shot" of the Schuylkill, you'll also be competing for some really great prizes provided by the sponsors: the Philadelphia Water Department, REI, and Calumet Photographic.
There are 3 different categories, with 1st, 2nd, and honorable mention prizes for each of them. Submissions will be accepted now through October 30th. A panel of judges will select the top 10 pictures for each category, which will then be shared with the public for online voting.
For more information click here or contact Tom Davidock at TDavidock@DelawareEstuary.org or call 1-800-445-4935 x 109.
Videos to Watch
- Caring farmer shows how keeping his cows out of the stream keeps Crypto out of the water supply; stopping contamination at the source - 4 minute video by United Water Delaware as part of their Watershed Control Plan (WCP) project to help educate and encourage more potential partners to come onboard.
If you are trying to sell putting "green before gray" infrastructure your town, learn from Dr. Chris Crockett, Director of Planning and Research, Philadelphia Water Department. He shares why Green Infrastructure offers much more than a "Chia pet view" of a skyline of green roofs, but a powerful approach to re-invent cities with infrastructure for the future that will allow American cities to compete in the world.
Watershed on Wheels or WOW Express lets people experience their watershed in a mobile center.
Rain barrel video from Virginia.
Interested in using Smart Phones to do Community Education with QR Codes?
What is a QR Code?
Save the Date - See WREN Calendar for details
September 5-6, 2012
Pennsylvania's Energy Future 2.0: Getting from Here to There - Pittsburgh, PA
September 5, 2012 (1 pm - 3 pm)
Webinar #1 of Series of 5 Free Fall Drinking Water Protection Webinars
September 8, 2012 (9 am - 3 pm)
ALLARM Water Monitoring Workshop - Washington, PA
September 13, 2012 (9 am - Noon)
What's Clean Water, and How do We Get it Back? - Lancaster, PA
September 14-16, 2012
Know Your Watershed Days - Northampton and Lehigh Counties, PA
September 15, 2012 (9 am - 3:30 pm)
ALLARM Water Monitoring Workshop - Corry, PA (Warren County)
September 18-19, 2012
PA Environmental Council Stormwater/Green Infrastructure Conference titled: "Stormwater- Green Solutions beyond Gray Pipes: A conference on policy, financing and technology" - Harrisburg, PA
September 19, 2012 (1 pm - 3 pm)
Webinar #2 of Series of 5 Free Fall Drinking Water Protection Webinars
September 19, 2012 (6:15 pm Tours; 7 pm Lecture)
September 20, 2012
PENNVEST Workshop - Westmoreland Conservation District, Greensburg, PA
September 21, 2012 (8:30 am - Noon)
September 27, 2012
Dive Deeper Environmental Education Summit- Harrisburg, PA
September 27-28, 2012
7th Annual Chesapeake Watershed Forum- Shepherdstown, W. VA
September 29, 2012 (10 am - 2 pm)
October 12, 2012
Schuylkill Highlands Mini-Grant Round #6 Applications Due (requests may be up to $25,000)