(HARRISBURG, PA)—The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) applauds the York County Commissioners for adopting a Clean Water Counts resolution, calling on state officials to make clean water a top priority for the Keystone State.
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, which reported that nearly 20,000 miles of rivers and streams that we rely on for drinking and household uses, recreation, and to grow our food, are polluted.
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 all 83,000 miles of waterways in the state are clean.
The resolution builds on York's on-going clean water efforts. Earlier this year the Planning Commission finalized a countywide watershed plan that analyzes strategies and targets the pollution-reducing practices most appropriately suited for York County. The primary goal of the plan is to aid municipalities, citizens, and businesses in determining how to most efficiently reduce pollution from urban and suburban runoff.
"We applaud the York County Commissioners and the Planning Commission for their leadership and conviction about the importance of clean water, first with the county-wide plan and today, by passing the resolution," said Harry Campbell, CBF's Pennsylvania Director. "Healthy families, strong communities, and a thriving Pennsylvania economy depend on it."
DEP's survey results conclude that agricultural activities pollute the greatest miles of waterways followed by the legacy of coal mining and impacts from abandoned mine drainage, as well as polluted urban/suburban runoff, or stormwater, from our urban and suburban communities, including roads.
Nearly 2,000 miles of creeks, streams, and the Susquehanna River flow through York County, but unfortunately more than 360 miles are polluted and considered impaired by DEP. Countywide, agricultural activities and urban/suburban runoff are the most significant pollution sources affecting the health of local and downstream waters.
In addition to calling on local officials to pass resolutions, CBF is also asking something of citizens.
"We're asking all Pennsylvania residents to show their support for clean water by signing the Clean Water Counts online petition," said Campbell. "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 go to www.cbf.org/PAForCleanWater.