(HARRISBURG, PA)—The Chesapeake Bay Foundation's (CBF) Clean Water Counts campaign has gained significant momentum with Philadelphia County joining 14 other counties in adopting the clean water resolution, and more than 75 organizations, groups and businesses signing clean water statements of support.
The Clean Water Counts campaign calls on state officials to make clean water a top priority for the Keystone State.
About 19,000 miles of Pennsylvania waters are impaired. Agriculture is the largest source of pollution degrading the Commonwealth's streams and rivers. The leading cause of pollution is the runoff of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment from agriculture into streams and rivers, and ultimate the Chesapeake Bay. The second leading cause of pollution in Pennsylvania is acid mine drainage from the legacy of coal mining in parts of the state.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), there are 181 miles of impaired waterways in Philadelphia County. Sixty of those miles are polluted by runoff from urban and suburban areas, the third largest source of pollution in the Commonwealth.
The 15 counties that have adopted the Clean Water Counts resolution include Berks, Cumberland, Erie, Fayette, Greene, Jefferson, Luzerne, Northumberland, Philadelphia, Schuylkill, Venango, Washington, Westmoreland, Wyoming, and York.
"With Philadelphia County adopting the Clean Water Counts resolution, the effort now represents one-third of Pennsylvania's population," said CBF's Pennsylvania Executive Director Harry Campbell. CBF's goal is to have all 67 counties in the Commonwealth adopt the resolution.
CBF recently expanded the Clean Water Counts campaign, inviting organizations, groups, and businesses from across the Commonwealth to declare their support for making clean water a priority in Pennsylvania. In a short period of time, over 75 statewide and regional organizations like the Pennsylvania Council of Churches, Pennsylvania Growing Greener Coalition, Pennsylvania Environmental Council, Lancaster Farmland Trust, Pennsylvania Trout Unlimited, Audubon Pennsylvania, LandStudies, Inc., and numerous conservancies, watershed alliances, and conservation districts have signed on.
"We're encouraged by the response we've received and hope that others will follow the leadership of the counties who have passed the resolution and organizations who have shown their support," Campbell added.
By supporting the Clean Water Counts campaign, Philadelphia and numerous other counties and organizations are telling lawmakers in Harrisburg that clean water is integral to Pennsylvania's economy, communities, and human health. It's a legacy worth leaving future generations.