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.
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. The science-based criteria provide information to help states improve public health protection by addressing a broader range of illness symptoms, better accounting for pollution after heavy rainfall, providing more protective recommendations for coastal waters, encouraging early alerts to beachgoers and promoting rapid water testing. The criteria released today do not impose any new requirements; instead, they are a tool that states can choose to use in setting their own standards.
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. Typically in PA, rural public water supplies operate independently, managing their own individual systems, and come together only periodically for trade association meetings, trainings, etc. Rural water systems do not typically even connect with nearby water systems that share their watershed upstream or downstream, or with watershed groups that may be working on restoration efforts in their source water areas, or with county planners, etc., but that is beginning to change in PA.
Water infrastructure may be considered “gray” or “green.” Gray infrastructure refers to traditional practices for storm water management and wastewater treatment. Green infrastructure refers to sustainable pollution reducing practices that also provide other ecosystem services such as reduced greenhouse gas emissions or increased flood control. Examples of green infrastructure include grass and forest buffers, use of porous materials for paving, as well as small-scale practices like rain gardens and rain barrels. EPA scientists are studying green infrastructure to determine the most effective and efficient practices for water treatment, management and transport. Learn more at the Green Infrastructure Research Website.
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.
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 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.
The streets of New Brighton’s commercial district will soon have a unique new addition to their storm drains.
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.
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