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. Available at http://www.epa.gov/mywaterway, the How’s My Waterway app and website uses GPS technology or a user-entered zip code or city name to provide information about the quality of local water bodies. The release of the app and website helps mark the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, which Congress enacted on October 18, 1972, giving citizens a special role in caring for the nation’s water resources. Forty years later, EPA is providing citizens with a technology-based tool to expand that stewardship.
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.
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.
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.
Penn State Extension is offering an Aquatic Pesticide Course for pond applicators that is approved for three Category 9 recertification credits from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
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.”
Suppose you are thinking about buying a house with a basement, how can you tell if it might have water problems?
Pennsylvania is fortunate to have a Department of Environmental Protection accredited water testing laboratory at Penn State University.
Saturday Sept 29th from 10 am – 2pm is the National DEA Drug Take Back Date. There are hundreds, if not thousands of participating police departments and sites in Pennsylvania. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked. Dispose of unwanted medications properly to protect our water and families. You can make a difference in our communities by safely disposing of unused or expired medications (loose pills, creams, liquids and pill packs). Prescription, over-the-counter and veterinary medications will be accepted. Visit the National Take Back Initiative Collection Site Search to find a site near you - all you need is your zip code!
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
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 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.
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.
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?