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.
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
Free Webinar Series - 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 a three-year period on projects to improve drinking water source protection. Funding for this effort was provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The projects aimed to help the states of New Hampshire, Maine, Utah, Oregon, Ohio, North Carolina, Missouri, and New York work across political and programmatic boundaries to better align planning, economic development, regulation, and conservation to protect drinking water sources at the local and watershed levels. Now that work with the eight states is nearing completion, the team and state partners will report on the most innovative, replicable state agency approaches to protect drinking water in a series of five webinars during the fall of 2012. Visit this website to find information on the dates, times, and titles of the webinars. the series begins September 19, 2012.
Reducing water consumption can benefit Pennsylvania residents in many ways. Water conserving appliances can also save your family money.
With drought gripping our nation, protecting groundwater through conservation, as well as contamination prevention, takes on added importance during this year’s September 11 Protect Your Groundwater Day, an event established several years ago by the National Ground Water Association. “Using water wisely is important no matter where one lives. Drought simply underscores that groundwater is a finite resource worth protecting,” said NGWA Public Awareness Director Cliff Treyens. Treyens said preventing contamination of groundwater is something every person can do through simple adjustments in their daily habits. Find out what you can do to protect this important resource. Your drinking water depends on it.
The Penn State Master Well Owner Network (MWON) has released its schedule of training opportunities for new MWON volunteers for the next year.
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.
EPA has released a new technical resource to improve stream assessment and restoration for watershed practitioners. A Function-Based Framework for Stream Assessment and Restoration Projects lays out a framework for approaching stream assessment and restoration projects that focuses on understanding the suite of stream functions at a site in the context of what is happening in the watershed. The framework is an expansive resource covering watershed and river corridor processes, and the document provides several hypothetical examples and a detailed discussion of how the framework could be used to develop and assess stream restoration projects.
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.
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.
The PA Environmental Council is happy to announce registration is now open for our conference “Stormwater- Green Solutions beyond Gray Pipes: A Conference on Policy, Financing and Technology” on September 18 and 19 in Harrisburg. The profile of stormwater has steadily been increasing in recent years. Municipalities, businesses and homeowners are, now more than ever, looking for opportunities to effectively manage rainwater where it falls as a resource and to deliver improved environments. Green infrastructure experts will provide current local and regional perspectives and practical, cost effective solutions for managing stormwater in Pennsylvania. For the conference agenda and to register, visit the Stormwater Conference website.
Join experts from the Department of Environmental Protection and Penn State Extension's Master Well Owner Network on September 19 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. Online registration is available for the webinar. If you are unable to participate on September 19, or for more information, visit DEP’s DEP@Home webpage.
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.
The Department of Environmental Protection today issued a drought watch for 15 Western Pennsylvania counties. A drought watch declaration is the first and least severe level of the state’s three drought classifications. It calls for a voluntary five percent reduction in nonessential water use and puts large water consumers on notice to begin planning for the possibility of reduced water supplies.
This quarterly series of webinars produced by the Department of Environmental Protection, features information on timely environmental topics and issues of interest to Pennsylvania residents, homeowners and dwellers. The webinars will be held in the evenings and feature DEP experts exploring a variety of environmental topics in easy-to-understand terms including summertime advisories for Ozone Action Days and West Nile Virus, taking care of your private water well and septic systems, conserving energy, and radon testing and mitigation to name a few. Future webinar topics are listed below. Dates and times will be announced later. Current topics are: August 2012 - Water Well-ness: Learn about construction and care for private water wells and septic systems. October 2012 - Watts Up?: Learn some simple energy conservation tips to prepare for the change of the seasons. January 2013 - The Reality of Radon: Learn about testing for and mitigating radon.
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?
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.
Ag Progress Days are just around the corner! Be sure to check out Penn State's Agriculture and Environment Center while you are there. The Agriculture and Environment Center is focusing on one best management practice for water quality; riparian buffers. Stop by to learn all you need to know about riparian buffers and what they can do for you and your land.
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.
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.