July 20, 2016
Clean Water Counts in Lancaster County
(HARRISBURG, PA)—Lancaster County has joined the growing list of Pennsylvania counties that have adopted a Clean Water Counts resolution, calling on state officials to make clean water a top priority for the Commonwealth by proclaiming July as "Clean Water Counts Month."
"Clean water is vital to all residents of Lancaster County," Commissioner Chairman Dennis Stuckey said. "We must ensure that all drinking water is safe and no streams are impaired. Cooperation and collaboration among all stakeholders is necessary to reach this lofty goal. Lancaster County can and will be successful."
Lancaster County Commissioner Craig Lehman added that, "Fresh water resources are critically important to our local economy and quality of life. Communities that improve their local water quality will have a competitive advantage going forward."
"Our communities, our economy, and our health depend on clean water," said Harry Campbell, Chesapeake Bay Foundation's (CBF) Pennsylvania executive director. "We are excited that Lancaster County made this proclamation supporting efforts to clean our rivers and streams."
Support for Clean Water Counts now represents more than half of Pennsylvania's population.
CBF and the Pennsylvania Growing Greener Coalition launched the Clean Water Counts campaign in 2014, urging local governments across the Commonwealth to pass resolutions and join in calling on legislators to invest in local clean water programs and practices.
In Lancaster County, roughly 882 miles of waterways are damaged by pollution, 650 of those miles are damaged by agricultural activities, according to the Department of Environmental Protection.
"Residents of Lancaster County rely upon clean water for drinking, a wealth of recreational activities, tourism and, for some, their livelihood," the proclamation states, "and preventing pollution of the waters of our county and reclaiming and restoring our waterways are essential to these purposes."
About 19,000 miles of Pennsylvania rivers and streams are polluted, and the Commonwealth has a Clean Water Blueprint to reduce nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment runoff that is damaging its waters.
Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency reported that Pennsylvania is significantly behind in meeting its Blueprint goals of having 60 percent of the pollution-reduction practices necessary to restore water quality in place by 2017 and 100 percent in place by 2025.
Lancaster is the 31st county to adopt a Clean Water Counts resolution. The other 30 counties to sign on are Berks, Cambria, Cameron, Carbon, Centre, Cumberland, Dauphin, Erie, Fayette, Franklin, Greene, Indiana, Jefferson, Lawrence, Lehigh, Luzerne, McKean, Montgomery, Montour, Northumberland, Philadelphia, Schuylkill, Somerset, Susquehanna, Venango, Warren, Washington, Westmoreland, Wyoming, and York.
By supporting the Clean Water Counts campaign, Lancaster and other counties are telling lawmakers in Harrisburg that the Commonwealth must get back on track toward meeting its clean water commitments. It's a legacy worth leaving for future generations.