Nearly 2,500 miles of Pennsylvania waterways are considered
"impaired" because of pollution, and a new report takes a look at
Stormwater runoff from blacktop and roofs in cities and suburbs is putting
valuable water resources at great risk, according to the report released by the
Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
Harry Campbell, who heads the foundation's Pennsylvania office, said some
communities are tackling the problem head on by "iImproving local
conditions and local water quality in a way that identifies where the primary
sources of the pollution are coming from within those various communities, and
then rendering each community's collective expertise to deal with those in the
most cost-effective way practicable."
Foundation president Will Baker said he hopes the report is used as a template
of sorts for how to handle polluted runoff moving forward.
"This is a suite of solutions that local folks can implement to make their
own backyard waters cleaner, for the benefit of human health, of aquatic
health, of recreation," he said. "It's very much a local issue."
Solutions to the problem are relatively straightforward, Campbell said. They
can mean strategically planting trees, creating wetlands and specially designed
rain gardens that filter polluted runoff. He added that it's important that
funding be restored to the state's Stormwater Management Act to help get the
"Zeroed out in 2008, this Act provided assistance through resources to
counties in developing and updating watershed or countywide plans to manage
polluted runoff," he said.
The foundation opposes legislation that would remove requirements for new
developments to preserve or restore forests beside the state's most pristine
streams, Campbell said.
In Pennsylvania, the report said, impacts in some areas include contamination
of drinking water sources, property damage and loss, and beach closings and