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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

DEP Draft Water Quality Report Submitted to U.S. EPA

Harrisburg, PA - The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has submitted the 2016 Draft Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report (Integrated Report) to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), listing the impaired waterways in Pennsylvania.

“Pennsylvania is home to more than 86,000 miles of streams and rivers and more than 160,000 acres of lakes, so it is vital that we maintain and monitor these valuable resources,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “This report serves to identify what waters are healthy and what waters need some extra attention.”

Rivers, lakes and streams are assessed in four categories: Aquatic Life, Water Supply, Fish Consumption, and Recreation. The Integrated Report lists approximately 19,900 miles of streams and waterways as impaired for at least one of their designated uses. The Integrated Report is submitted for review and approval every two years to the Environmental Protection Agency. The full report and supporting documents can be found here http://www.dep.pa.gov/Business/Water/CleanWater/WaterQuality/Integrated%20Water%20Quality%20Report-2016/Pages/default.aspx.

An interactive map of Pennsylvania waterways and impairments can be found here: http://www.depgis.state.pa.us/integratedreport/index.html. This mapping tool can identify individual stream/river segments and any applicable impairments and their causes.

Impaired waters can require implementation of a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) if it is clear that a pollutant or pollutants are driving an impairment designation. A TMDL is one of the tools used to reduce pollutants into a waterway from nearby sources. The Integrated Report also details progress reports of previously implemented TMDLs. Some of the most common pollutant sources are acid mine drainage, agriculture runoff, and urban stormwater runoff.

To reduce pollution in impaired waters, the DEP Bureau of Clean Water will work with local governments and private residents to install best management practices to control and/or treat runoff and improve the quality of the water entering streams and lakes.

Public comment was accepted on the Integrated Report from July 30 – September 12, 2016. DEP received feedback from 21 commentators.

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