(HARRISBURG, PA)—The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) commends the Westmoreland County Commissioners for adopting a Clean Water Counts resolution, calling on state officials to make clean water a top priority for the Keystone State.
"We applaud the Westmoreland County Commissioners for their leadership and conviction about the importance of clean water, and for passing a Clean Water Counts resolution," said Harry Campbell, CBF's Pennsylvania Director. "Healthy families, strong communities, and a thriving Pennsylvania economy depend on it."
CBF embarked on the Clean Water Counts campaign in response to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) most recent statewide assessment of the health of surface waters. The findings of their assessment show that nearly 20,000 miles of the rivers and streams that we rely on for drinking and household uses, recreation, and to grow our food, are polluted.
DEP's survey results conclude that agricultural activities pollute the greatest miles of waterways, statewide, followed by abandoned mine drainage, and urban/suburban runoff.
Approximately 1,600 miles of waterways flow through Westmoreland County, but unfortunately more than 700 miles are polluted and considered impaired by DEP. Countywide, abandoned mine drainage is the most significant source, polluting 297 miles of waterways in the county. Pollution from urban and suburban runoff accounts for a very close 212 miles, and agricultural activities damage another 142 miles of waterways.
Through public education and engagement, CBF is urging officials to make clean water a priority and to commit the needed funding and programs to ensure that Westmoreland County streams, and all 83,000 miles of waterways in the state are clean.
In addition to calling on local officials to pass resolutions, CBF is also asking Pennsylvania residents to show their support for clean water by signing the Clean Water Counts online petition. It takes only a few minutes, but it goes a long way toward demonstrating the importance of clean water to our elected officials.
Online petition signatures will be accepted through October 18th, the anniversary of the Clean Water Act. To learn more about the campaign, including a map of Westmoreland County's impaired waterways, go to www.cbf.org/PAForCleanWater.