Watershed Winds Newsletter
Polluted stormwater runoff is commonly transported through Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s), from which it is often discharged untreated into local waterbodies. To prevent harmful pollutants from being washed or dumped into an MS4, operators must obtain a NPDES permit and develop a stormwater management program. An increasing number of municipalities in Pennsylvania are being designated as having to meet MS4 requirements. Learn about MS4s and how this can affect your community.
With the rain that occurred over the past month, many of us have had to mow our lawns more often. These heavy rains can also contribute to grass clippings ending up in storm water runoff. Grass clippings that are blown into the street eventually enter the street storm drain.
The Department of the Interior has just released an online tool called Streamer. The interactive map allows you to trace a stream in either direction—upstream to its source or downstream to where it ultimately empties. It also shows statistics for the stream, such as its length, political jurisdictions it passes through (states, counties, and cities), origin elevation, and other information. A more detailed report also shows all the US Geological Survey’s stream gages for that stream. Streamer is an easy way to demonstrate where local rivers eventually end up, and what’s upstream that might be influencing your local water quality. This tool provides an easy visual way to help demonstrate the concept of a watershed. You can also use the map to show tributaries to a particular stream or river.
What are two things that could prevent your well from becoming contaminated? Pennsylvania is one of only two states that do not have mandatory statewide construction standards for private water wells. As a result, some important components of a properly constructed drinking water well are often not installed in an effort to reduce the cost of the well to the homeowner.
As part of President Obama's Climate Action Plan, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the National Stormwater Calculator, an innovative addition to the administration's virtual climate resilience toolkit. EPA's new calculator will help property owners, developers, landscapers and urban planners make informed land-use decisions to protect local waterways from pollution caused by stormwater runoff. Preventing stormwater runoff, which can impact drinking water resources and local ecosystems, protects citizen health and the surrounding environment.
All the jurisdictions in the Chesapeake Bay region are making progress meeting pollution reduction goals, but no jurisdiction is on track to implement all the pollution reduction practices they committed to achieve by 2013. The analysis of selected interim 2012-13 milestone goals was conducted by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) and Choose Clean Water Coalition (CCWC). This analysis is designed to ensure that commitments are being met, and if not, that actions will be taken to compensate for any shortfall.
Parking-lot sealcoat is the black liquid you see sprayed or painted on many parking lots, driveways, and playgrounds. Intended as a barrier to protect paved surfaces from the elements, which can cause cracking during freezing weather, they contain extremely elevated levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). A recent joint study shows they can affect the quality of downstream water resources.
After confirming the presence of the invasive aquatic algae known as didymo, or “rock snot,” in Pine Creek, Lycoming County, anglers and boaters are reminded that cleaning their gear is the easiest, most effective means of preventing its spread to other waters.
During the warm summer months, mosquitoes can breed in any small amount of standing water and it takes them only a week to go from egg to biting adult.
Check out the newest addition to our youth water education resources, an interactive fact sheet about safe drinking water titled “The Water We Drink”.
Volunteers helped cut and plant live stakes that will help reduce erosion along the Little Conewago Creek.
We are excited to share a new resource that you might find of interest. Two new, youth-oriented online presentations from Penn State Extension explore the role of water in shale-gas drilling and production in the mid-Atlantic region.
Water specialists from Penn State Extension worked with surrounding states to provide education on managing private water supplies in shale gas drilling regions.
One of America's most widespread & costly environmental problems is excess nitrogen and phosphorus in the air and water. Visit the EPA Nutrient Pollution website to learn more.
Summer weather is here and many local farm markets have opened for the season. More and more folks are raising produce on their land and selling it at these farm markets.
The House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee Tuesday amended and reported out legislation authorizing the state to set standards for the construction of drinking water wells.
Private and public pool owners, as well as pool management companies, should remember that chlorinated wastewater must be handled responsibly, Acting DEP Secretary Chris Abruzzo said today. When chlorinated water is drained from a swimming pool into a storm sewer, it can quickly make its way to a stream or other body of water, where aquatic life can be damaged or killed. The discharge of swimming pool water to local waterways without a permit is a violation of the Clean Streams Law. For more information, or to view the Swimming Pool Wastewater Guidelines, visit www.dep.state.pa.us, keyword: pool wastewater.
Gooseneck Loosestrife (Lysimachia clethroides) is a garden-lover’s dream when the planting site is hostile to more well-behaved horticultural selections. Think ahead, for in fertile soils and confined spaces, this rhizomatous perennial primrose family member can spread as quickly as bamboo to dominate the site!
Many states throughout the nation offer Master Watershed Steward volunteer programs through their land grant university extension services; these programs train citizen volunteers in the basics of water resource stewardship. Now Penn State Extension, with the help of the Watershed Coalition of the Lehigh Valley and other local environmental groups, are launching PA’s first Master Watershed Steward Program in Lehigh and Northampton counties.
The Watershed Winds newsletter launched in 2012. We would like to ask you, our readers for comments to help us improve