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2012

Water and Your Milk Supply
December 31, 2012
Did you know that milk is made up of 87% water?
Preventing Septic Malfunctions
December 24, 2012
For most people living in rural areas, collection, treatment, and disposal of sewage must be accomplished on site. Here are some tips to prevent problems with your system.
Delaware River Basin Commission 2011 Annual Report Available
December 20, 2012
The Delaware River Basin Commission this week released its Annual Report highlighting its accomplishments and challenges from 2011 and celebrating the Commission’s 50th Anniversary.
WaterSense at Work: Best Management Practices for Commercial and Institutional Facilities Available Online
December 17, 2012
WaterSense has developed WaterSense at Work, a compilation of water-efficiency best management practices, to help commercial and institutional facilities understand and better manage their water use, help facilities establish an effective water management program and identify projects and practices that can reduce facility water use.
Decommissioning Wells for Safety
December 17, 2012
Do you have an old well on your property that isn’t used anymore? It is common to find old, unused wells throughout the state.
Tips for Buying Water Treatment Equipment
December 10, 2012
Do you have water treatment equipment in your home? Do you NEED water treatment equipment in your home? Surveys have found that about 60 percent of the homes in Pennsylvania served by a private water system such as a well, spring, or cistern, have some type of water treatment equipment.
EPA Recommends New Recreational Water Quality Criteria to Better Protect Public Health
December 4, 2012
Pursuant to an order from a U.S. District Court and as required by the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health Act of 2000, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today recommended new recreational water quality criteria for states that will help protect peoples’ health during visits to beaches and waters year round.
Can Public Drinking Water Coalitions Make A Difference?
December 3, 2012
Rural Public Water Supplies face many problems and it has been my experience that solutions are always better, the more people you involve in their creation.
Preventing Frozen Pipes
November 26, 2012
It has been getting chillier at night. Winter will soon be here and when that happens, temperatures drop considerably and can cause freezing water issues both indoors and out. So here are some tips to help you avoid common problems in winter and hopefully prevent frustration for you, your pets, your livestock and the wild birds that you may like to feed.
EPA Launches New SepticSmart Initiative
November 19, 2012
Did you know that one-quarter of all U.S. homes have septic systems? Yours may be one of them. If you’re not properly maintaining your septic system, you’re not only hurting the environment, you’re putting your family’s health at risk—and may be flushing thousands of dollars down the drain! EPA’s SepticSmart initiative is a nation-wide public education effort that aims to inform homeowners living on properties serviced by septic systems on the importance of properly maintaining their septic system and provide valuable resources to help homeowners make important decisions regarding their wastewater management needs. The initiative also provides resources for outreach organizations and government leaders who seek promote this message locally.
Penn State Extension Assists North Central Private Water Supply Owners
November 19, 2012
Penn State Extension worked with the Headwaters Resource Conservation and Development Council and the Clearfield Conservation District to implement a Colcum Foundation Grant in eight counties in North Central Pennsylvania. The project was geared toward low to moderate income residents to assist them in obtaining pre-gas well drilling, chain of custody, water test reports.
Pennsylvania’s Storm Drain Marking Project Puts Clean Water Message on the Street
November 13, 2012
The streets of New Brighton’s commercial district will soon have a unique new addition to their storm drains.
Dive Deeper Summit Participants Eager to Gather Again Next Year
October 29, 2012
Youth Water Educators from around the Mid-Atlantic Region gathered together in Harrisburg, PA for a day of learning, networking, and sharing resources. The Dive Deeper Summit, hosted by Penn State Extension on September 27, 2012, was the first of its kind for most participants.
New App Lets Users Check Health of Waterways Anywhere in the U.S.
October 22, 2012
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today launched a new app and website to help people find information on the condition of thousands of lakes, rivers and streams across the United States from their smart phone, tablet or desktop computer.
New Issue of On Tap Available Online
October 18, 2012
A new issue of On Tap, the National Environmental Services Center’s drinking water and wastewater magazine, is now available . The fall/winter 2012 issue features articles about environmental justice, how to become more water and energy efficient, the second part of an in-depth rate setting article, and a look at two emerging issues: phosphorus and source water monitoring in areas where hydraulic fracturing is used in natural gas extraction. As always, we encourage you to use the information in On Tap in your community. All we ask is that you give us credit and let us know how you used it.
DEA’s Fifth National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day Results in Another Big Haul
October 16, 2012
Results of the September 29, 2012 DEA Drug Take-Back Day are announced. For the fifth time in two years, Americans emptied medicine cabinets, bedside tables, and kitchen drawers of unwanted, unused, and expired prescription drugs and took them to collection sites located throughout the United States as part of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. DEA’s state, local, and tribal law enforcement partners, working at more than 5,263 locations, collected 488,395 pounds (244 tons) of prescription medications from members of the public. Follow the link for the Press Release.
Profile: The River Alert Information Network (RAIN): Making Regional Drinking Water Collaboration Work
October 9, 2012
WREN is pleased to share the article WREN wrote about RAIN – the River Alert Information Network, source water protection/water quality monitoring, which just appeared in the Sept 2012 issue of the PA State Association of Boroughs News magazine. The article originally appeared in our WREN E-newsletter. Since their theme for the Sept issue was outreach and effective communications, we were happy to oblige PSAB’s request, as source water protection coalitions like RAIN are proving to be an important communications and public education vehicle about community water issues. The PA State Association of Boroughs represents over 900 boroughs with over 2.6 million Pennsylvania residents.
EPA Septic (Onsite/Decentralized) Systems Website Moves
October 1, 2012
Please note that U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Decentralized Wastewater Program website has moved. According to EPA, “the septic web content has been migrated and reorganized to better serve key stakeholder groups.”
Dry Basements
October 1, 2012
Suppose you are thinking about buying a house with a basement, how can you tell if it might have water problems?
Penn State Water Testing Lab Products Available
September 24, 2012
Pennsylvania is fortunate to have a Department of Environmental Protection accredited water testing laboratory at Penn State.
Occurrence of pharmaceuticals, hormones, and organic wastewater compounds in Pennsylvania waters, 2006-09 Report Released
September 17, 2012
Low concentrations of 51 different contaminants, including pharmaceuticals, hormones and organic wastewater compounds, were detected in streams and streambed sediments throughout Pennsylvania. In addition to the types and concentrations of contaminants, likely contaminant sources as well as potential impact on aquatic life are discussed.
Water Suppliers Give Thumbs Up to Partnership in Lower Susquehanna River Basin
September 11, 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. Read more in the WREN August 2012 E-NEWS FEATURE
Save Water, Save Energy - Save Energy, Save Money!
September 10, 2012
Reducing water consumption can benefit Pennsylvania residents in many ways. Water conserving appliances can also save your family money.
Remove standing water to keep mosquitoes, West Nile virus at bay
August 27, 2012
The itch of a mosquito bite is one of the common nuisances of summer. But with mosquito populations seemingly exploding this year -- and cases of mosquito-borne West Nile virus reaching unprecedented numbers nationally -- it's a good idea to take a few simple precautions to reduce the chances of being bitten.
Managing Private Water Supplies During Drought
August 27, 2012
Droughts can be a stressful time for rural homeowners and farmers who rely on groundwater wells for a water supply. The availability of water underground is often invisible to the homeowner creating nervousness about whether the water supply will continue to meet the water needs of the home or farm.
A Function-Based Framework for Stream Assessment and Restoration Projects Available Online
August 27, 2012
EPA has released a new technical resource to improve stream assessment and restoration for watershed practitioners.
Cover Cropping with the Penn State Interseeder is all about Downstream
August 20, 2012
The use of cover crops on the farm can slow erosion, improve soil quality, enhance nutrient retention, aide in moisture retention and compete against weeds. These benefits, and many others, are well understood by a growing number of notill and reduced-tillage producers in Pennsylvania who pay particular attention to their soils and off-site impacts.
New Hands-on Watershed Decisions Lesson Plan for Teens and Adults
August 13, 2012
A new, interactive, inquiry-based lesson plan has been created to help older youth better understand water quality issues that surround small watersheds and the decision making processes that go into improving those water quality issues.
Geothermal Heat Pumps
July 30, 2012
How do you heat your home? Oil? Gas? Electricity? How about cooling it? Do you have electric central air conditioning? What type of water heater do you have? Are those utility bills eating into your paycheck? Have you ever thought of installing a geothermal heating and cooling system?
Pond and Lake Water Quality
July 23, 2012
During this hot summer, residents of lake communities and private pond owners are enjoying swimming, boating and fishing in the lake or pond. Your enjoyment of the pond or lake depends on maintaining the water quality of the pond or lake.
Good Watershed Keeping
July 16, 2012
Pennsylvania is a water-rich state with six watersheds. Water that collects in local streams flows down through the watershed finally reaching a saltwater body, so what you do in the watershed is felt many hundreds of miles away.
Fieldprint Calculator 2.0 Launched
July 16, 2012
The Fieldprint Calculator is a free online tool for growers to voluntarily and securely analyze how their management choices impact natural resources and operational efficiency. Field to Market continues to learn about the relationships between agricultural practices and sustainability outcomes. Updates to the Calculator will be made to continue incorporating the best available information about these impacts.
Understanding and Protecting Source Water
July 9, 2012
Whether you use a public water supplier or have a private drinking water well, the water that you drink has to come from somewhere before it gets to you!
EPA Releases Green Infrastructure Permitting and Enforcement Fact Sheets
July 9, 2012
EPA has released a series of six fact sheets on incorporating green infrastructure measures into National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System wet weather programs. The series builds upon existing EPA authority, guidance and agreements to describe how EPA and state permitting and enforcement professionals can work with permittees to include green infrastructure measures as part of control programs. The six fact sheets and four supplements address stormwater permits, total maximum daily loads, combined sewer overflow long-term control plans, and enforcement actions.
Fish for Pennsylvania Ponds
July 1, 2012
Is fishing a passion of yours? Why not stock your pond with the right kind of fish so you and your kids can have a great time outdoors?
Ticks and Lyme Disease
June 25, 2012
This summer, there has been an increase in reported cases of tick bites. In an effort to promote wellness and to reduce the number of cases, the following information is being offered to keep you safe while at work and during your leisure time.
Essential Smart Growth Fixes for Rural Planning, Zoning, and Development Codes
June 18, 2012
This new report from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers ten essential fixes to help rural communities amend their codes, ordinances, and development requirements to promote more environmentally and economically sustainable growth.
New Penn State Extension Water Resource Factsheets
June 18, 2012
The Penn State Extension Water Resources Team has recently released two new water related factsheets. The factsheets are quick reference guides to help Private Water Supply Owners understand water supply problems and common water testing parameters in Pennsylvania.
Woodlots and Water Quality
June 11, 2012
Did you know that approximately 66% of Pennsylvania is still covered by forests? So much forested cover means that many land owners and farmers have small or even sizable woodlots on their property.
Public Safety at Low Head Dams
June 4, 2012
Hidden Dangers and Public Safety at Low-head Dams by Bruce A. Tschantz, PE, PhD and Kenneth R. Wright, PE appears in The Journal of Dam Safety, V.9 n.1, 2011, Published by the Association of State Dam Safety Officials. The article reviews the dangers associated with low head dams, a.k.a. "killer dams" and the dangers posed to water recreation. The hazards posed by these dams are discussed in light of a recent study of accidents at these dams over the last four decades. The article concludes with proposed measures to prevent drownings.
EPA and Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals
June 4, 2012
The following information was recently shared in the Pharmwaste Digest, Vol 79, Issue 21, and is a good update to the EPA regulation process on Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals.
EPA Releases Fact Sheet on the Economic Benefits of Protecting Healthy Watersheds
May 31, 2012
EPA has released a new fact sheet as part of its Healthy Watersheds initiative describing the economic benefits of protecting healthy watersheds by highlighting examples from existing peer-reviewed literature and studies.
Guiding Hearts with Hope
May 29, 2012
An effort by a Hanover woman to help a loved one deal with the disease of addiction has developed into successful drug collection and outreach efforts.
Helping to Save Our Lakes: Taking Care of Stormwater!!!
May 21, 2012
Many of our neighborhoods in Pennsylvania have beautiful streams and lakes, which are being degraded due to excessive stormwater runoff.
All the Water on Planet Earth
May 17, 2012
How much of planet Earth is made of water? Very little, actually. Although oceans of water cover about 70 percent of Earth's surface, these oceans are shallow compared to the Earth's radius. The above illustration shows what would happen if all of the water on or near the surface of the Earth were bunched up into a ball. The radius of this ball would be only about 700 kilometers, less than half the radius of the Earth's Moon, but slightly larger than Saturn's moon Rhea which, like many moons in our outer Solar System, is mostly water ice. How even this much water came to be on the Earth and whether any significant amount is trapped far beneath Earth's surface remain topics of research.
SRBC Technical Reports on Water Quality Monitoring, Water Availability, Mine Drainage and Other Topics Available Online
May 15, 2012
Among its major responsibilities, the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) is a leader in data collection and analysis for water quality monitoring, mine drainage and water resource availability. SRBC makes its findings readily available to the public both on-line and through printed publications. SRBC’s more recent technical reports available online or by requesting printed copies.
Water Quality Scams
May 14, 2012
A recent article brought to mind how easy it is to be confused about water quality issues as well as potentially lose a lot of money doing things we don’t need to be doing.
Where Did the Water Go?
May 7, 2012
Imagine leaving a hose running into a tank and returning later to find the tank empty instead of full. At best this would be a mystery at worst a serious problem.
New Website, Great Learning Resource
May 7, 2012
The Chesapeake Bay Program has launched a new, improved version of its website. The new Bay Program website provides students, educators and members of the public with the latest information about Bay science, wildlife, pollution pressures and restoration efforts. The new website comes complete with countless new resources, including an improved photo library with hundreds of high-resolution images of the Bay and its watershed, wildlife and pollution problems. Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay staff have been instrumental in building the content featured by the site.
Filamentous Algae
April 30, 2012
If you have a pond on your property, you may have already started to see the growth of what looks like green string-like slime on the bottom of your pond. What you probably have is the beginning stages of filamentous algae.
Every Curb is a Shoreline: Responsible Yard and Garden Care to Protect Water Quality
April 23, 2012
The growing season began early this year in Pennsylvania, so that means that many of us have already been hard at work preparing yards and gardens for the impending warmer weather.
Pre-drill Water Quality Data Demonstrates the Importance of Private Water Supply Testing
April 16, 2012
Water testing by the natural gas industry in the Marcellus Shale region is affirming the need for all rural Pennsylvanians to regularly test their private water supply.
New Marcellus Shale Electronic Field Guide
April 9, 2012
Penn State introduces a new online field guide to assist landowners, land managers, and gas companies understand terrestrial challenges facing shale gas development.
Building Your Relationship with Water
April 2, 2012
This spring, get a little closer to the water in your life by making a visit to a stream near you.
Watershed Central Tool
March 27, 2012
Watershed Central provides state, local, and voluntary watershed management entities with the key tools, resources, guidance, and datasets to aide in a successful watershed management. Designed to assist users to develop and implement effective watershed management programs, Watershed Central includes guidance, tools, case studies, and data sets to help you share information, analyze data, and identify opportunities to initiate or strengthen your watershed efforts. Watershed Central includes a wiki feature which allows the user to submit and edit content so that information is constantly updated by the watershed community. The wiki includes case studies, information on watershed organizations and various watershed management tools.
New EPA Document Released for Identifying and Protecting Healthy Watersheds
March 27, 2012
EPA recently released a new technical document titled “Identifying and Protecting Healthy Watersheds: Concepts, Assessments, and Management Approaches.” This document provides state water quality and aquatic resource scientists and managers with an overview of the key concepts behind the Healthy Watersheds Initiative. The initiative is intended to preserve and maintain natural ecosystems by protecting our remaining healthy watersheds, preventing them from becoming impaired and accelerating our restoration successes. Examples of approaches for assessing components of healthy watersheds are provided as well as integrated assessment options for identifying healthy watersheds, examples of management approaches and assessment tools and sources of data. States are encouraged to take a strategic, systems approach to protecting healthy watersheds and preventing future water quality impairments.
Penn State Extension Completes Private Water Well Study in Cameron County
March 26, 2012
Results of a study designed to educate and to encourage private water well owners to regularly test their private water supplies highlight the value of water testing.
Water We Drink Website Offers Resources
March 19, 2012
The Water We Drink: Small Community Outreach Campaign, which offers information about maintaining safe, sustainable, and secure water supplies in small and rural communities, has several articles written especially for those who oversee local water and wastewater services.
Lower Susquehanna River Watershed Assessment Website
March 12, 2012
The LSRWA's mission is to address sediment accumulation behind the Conowingo Dam, and the associated potential for storms to affect water quality and aquatic life in the Chesapeake Bay. This currently is a basic site to contain LSRWA meeting agendas, news, and press releases, and will evolve to have content deemed helpful to the group. However, documents and monitoring site maps would also be of general interest.
USDA Announces New Highly Erodible Cropland Initiative for Conservation Reserve Program
March 12, 2012
On Feb. 21, 2012, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a new conservation initiative to protect up to 750,000 acres of the nation’s most highly erodible croplands. Producers can enroll land on a continuous basis beginning this summer at their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) county office. Lands eligible for this program are typically the least productive land on the farm. In many cases the most cost-effective option to reduce erosion is to put the land into a wildlife friendly cover, which will improve habitat and reduce sediment and nutrient runoff and reduce wind erosion. Producers are encouraged to contact their local FSA office or visit FSA’s website for additional information regarding CRP.
Manure Management and the Small Farm
March 12, 2012
Proper Manure Management is a good idea for several reasons. Proper manure applications save you money by reducing fertilizer costs. Proper manure management protects water resources. Finally, proper manure management in Pennsylvania is now the law.
USDA Unveils New Plant Hardiness Zone Map
February 28, 2012
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the new version of its Plant Hardiness Zone Map (PHZM), updating a useful tool for gardeners and researchers for the first time since 1990 with greater accuracy and detail.The new map—jointly developed by USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Oregon State University's (OSU) PRISM Climate Group—is available online.For the first time, the new map offers a Geographic Information System (GIS)-based interactive format and is specifically designed to be Internet-friendly.
Chesapeake Bay Manure-to-Energy Summit
February 27, 2012
The summary report of the Chesapeake Bay Manure-to-Energy Summit that took place in September 2011 is available. With over 140 experts in attendance from the Chesapeake Bay region and beyond, the Summit focused not just on the different technologies that are emerging, but more importantly on the public policies that could help to get more of these technologies on the ground in the near term. The report describes 14 different policy options within three categories: Assist market entry; Finance for maximum benefit; Support effective use of by-products. Pennsylvania is already a regional leader in on-farm energy production. However, additional action is needed to fully realize the potential economic and environmental benefits of manure-to-energy systems. Questions or requests for hard copies should be sent to Marel Raub at 717-772-3651 or mraub@chesbay.us.
Nebraska Grout Study
February 17, 2012
Initiated by a "see through" casing, the study revealed some surprises. All grouts work as expected below the water table. Above the water table grouts vary in their ability to keep surface contaminants from penetrating the aquifer. The two most successful grouts to date were cement-sand and chip bentonite. The study is continuing.
Spring 2012 MWON Newsletter
February 15, 2012
The latest MWON news and events.
Spring 2012 Newsletter
February 15, 2012
The latest MWON news and events.
Septic System Failures
February 10, 2012
Owning your own home is challenging enough, what do you do when it comes with its own sewage treatment plant? This article provides some clues for owners of septic systems who want to make them last a very long time.
Private Well Maintenance
January 25, 2012
Proper well siting and construction leads to better water quality. Tips for inspecting older wells such as looking for signs of casing failure, the use of grout and the value of a sealed cap are discussed. A worksheet to help evaluate the condition and construction of an older well is discussed and linked.
Hard Water? What can be done?
January 16, 2012
Hard water can make deposits on dishes and faucets, cause dingy laundry, and diminish the effectiveness of appliances that heat water. The science of hardness and the mechanics of the ion exchange water softener are explained.
Pennsylvania’s Master Well Owner Network
January 10, 2012
Penn State Master Well Owners reach out to assist adults and children understand the value of proper well location and construction and the importance of proper testing and treatment of their drinking water supply.