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Feature Stories

Feature Stories appear in WREN's free e-newsletter, Water Policy News, as the lead story for the month. To read archived issues of Water Policy News, please click Water Policy News page under "Our Publications."  To sign up for our newsletter, click the red box on the right.

June 2015 Feature

The Water Resources Education Network (WREN) Project, a project of the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania Citizen Education Fund (LWVPA-CEF), has announced that four (4) community partnerships across the Commonwealth have been awarded a share of grant funds totaling $19,000.

Two Spring 2015 Features
by Lynda Ginsparg

Female water operators are rare in Pennsylvania.  But for nearly 30 years, Carol Paul has worked in this male-dominated field. In this issue of Water Policy News, we profile Carol Paul, tracing the path that led to her current position as Authority Manager for the Greenville Municipal Water Authority in Mercer County.  When she started out, she did not realize that protecting public health through safeguarding drinking water would become her life’s work. Paul also shares her views on the challenges faced by small water systems across the state.

by Jerry S. Walls, FAICP

February/March 2015 Feature (link to PDF)
'Red Lion Roars in as a Leader with Actions to Preserve Healthy Drinking Water' 
by Lynda Ginsparg

In this issue of Water Policy News, we continue our series spotlighting source water protection efforts by Pennsylvania water systems.  This month, we profile the Red Lion Municipal Authority in York County, PA, which jumped in early and has gone beyond legislation to protect the community’s drinking water.


January 2015 Feature (link to article)
WREN Grants Now Open for Source Water Protection Collaborative Projects

The League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania Citizen Education Fund through its WREN (Water Resources Education Network) is pleased to announce the opening of the 2015 grant round for Source Water Protection (SWP) Collaborative projects.  Funding is available to help launch or strengthen community partnerships that raise awareness and educate citizens about ways to keep Pennsylvania drinking water resources clean and healthy. 

November 2014 (link to PDF)
Lessons Learned Feature - 2013-2014 WREN Source Water Protection Grant Projects: A Sweet Year for Drinking Water Protection Partnerships 
by Lynda Ginsparg

Clean, safe drinking water. We all want it and need it for life itself.  Read about three 2013-2014 WREN Source Water Protection projects that decided to reach out to multiple audiences, including emergency responders, and take action before it's too late to safeguard precious drinking water.

October 2014  - Two Lessons Learned Feature Stories
2014 Lesson Learned Feature #1  (link to PDF)
'WREN Projects Turn Doers into Leaders' by Lynda Ginsparg

2014 Lessons Learned Feature #2  (link to PDF)
“The WREN EXPERIENCE” Stories Shared by 2013 -2014 WREN Project Leaders 
Compiled by Lynda Ginsparg

During the 2013-2014 funding year, WREN awarded and worked with 15 community partnerships:12 watershed education (nonpoint source pollution prevention) projects and 3 source water protection projects. Project activities began July 1, 2013 and wrapped up June 30, 2014. Project leaders were asked to submit a final report. The report included an opportunity to share a story that may be of interest to future project leaders and Water Policy News readers. Read their stories shared in the following two Feature articles.  Our November Feature will continue with a more in-depth look at the three Source Water Protection projects.

September 2014 Feature (link to PDF)
Vanport Township: A Small System with a Tall Order to Preserve Clean Water
By Lynda Ginsparg

Two major issues loomed large in this small township alongside the Ohio River in Beaver County, PA, prompting local officials to take action before threats to drinking water could do more harm.  Vanport Township Municipal Authority and local township officials worked alongside PA DEP to implement a Source Water Protection Plan designed to help the community protect its wells and safe reliable drinking water.We continue our series of profiles on small water systems and why they took action to implement a source water protection plan for their community.

August 2014 Feature (link to PDF)
SMALL WATER SYSTEMS - Quarryville Borough (Lancaster County) Sees Value in Reviving Dormant Source Water Protection Plan
By Lynda Ginsparg

Mention Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and thoughts turn to picturesque farmland, Amish-made quilts, good old-fashioned Pennsylvania Dutch food…and geothermal wells. This progressive energy source is what drove one official in Quarryville Borough to push for passage of a source water protection plan (SWP) that had laid dormant for years.  In this edition of Water Policy News, we continue the third in our series of periodic profiles of small water systems and why they took action to implement a source water protection plan to ensure safe, reliable drinking water for their community. This month we share the story of the Quarryville Borough, Lancaster County, PA.

June 2014 Feature (link to PDF)
SMALL WATER SYSEMS - Biglerville - Tackling Threats to Clean Water in Adams County
By Lynda Ginsparg

In rural areas and smaller towns across Pennsylvania, municipal officials and public service employees may need to wear multiple hats, jumping in to handle problems or emergencies where needed. Small water systems often face obstacles that larger water systems can handle more easily, due to location, greater resources or past experiences. In this edition of Water Policy News, we continue a periodic profile of small water systems and what drove their interest in source water protection.  This month we share the story of the Biglerville Water Company, Adams County, PA.

May 2014 Feature (Link to PDF)
WREN Awards more than $68,000 to 22 Local 
Community Partnerships 
The Water Resources Education Network (WREN) Project, a project of the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania Citizen Education Fund (LWVPA-CEF), has announced that 22 community partnerships across the Commonwealth have been awarded a share of grant funds totaling $68,720. 
April 2014 Feature (Link to PDF)

SMALL WATER SYSTEMS - THE UNSUNG HEROES OF SOURCE WATER PROTECTION  First in a Series: Keeping It Clean and Partnering for Early Detection By Lynda Ginsparg

In rural areas and smaller towns and hamlets across Pennsylvania, it is often one or two people who are the operators of their systems. They are the unsung heroes – the caretakers of water essential for their customers. Many have realized that taking charge of their water system right from the source is the only way to ensure safe drinking water. We begin a periodic profile of operators at small water systems whose diligence and hard work make the difference in providing their customers with reliable drinking water every day. This month we share the story of Randy Gradizzi, at Toby Water in Fox Township, Elk County. Partnering with small water operators like Toby Water throughout Elk County is the Elk County Conservation District, which has installed a state of the art water monitoring system - dubbed the Satellite Telemetry System, or STS - to serve as an extra level of protection for water systems. (Other small systems operators will be featured in upcoming editions of Water Policy News later this year.)

March 2014 (link to PDF)

Water and Sewer Groups Come Together for the Same Goal: Clean Water for Berks County  By Linda Ginsparg
After years of study and planning, The Berks County Water and Sewer Association became a reality last year, consisting of more than 80 member groups and individuals.  With the help of a $7,000  WREN Source Water Protection Collaborative Grant awarded in 2013, the group committed to work across municipal borders and kicked off an ambitious public education program to reach Berks municipal officials, residents and emergency responders with the clean water message.

February 2014 (link to PDF)
Keeping the Faith as Stewards of the Earth: Working with Non-Traditional Partners in the Watershed By Lynda Ginsparg
Churches, synagogues and faith-based organizations see themselves as stewards of the earth, but many don't know how to turn their mission into a reality that will benefit their local watersheds and help promote clean water in their communities. Now that tide is beginning to change. Learn how some members of the faith community are already embracing this challenge.

January 2014 (link to PDF)
Mount Joy Borough Cultivates Community Pride through Rain Garden 
By Lynda Ginsparg
Rain gardens are an efficient and beautiful way to stave off the effects of polluting run-off from roofs, parking lots and impervious surfaces. Rain gardens have been growing in popularity, and during the past several years WREN has awarded many grants to local partnerships to create and install rain gardens in their communities.

December 2013 (link to PDF)
It May Be Wintry Weather, but Look Forward to Spring - Begin Planning Your WREN Grant Project Now  By Lynda Ginsparg
What are the ingredients that blend together to form the perfect WREN grant project? Perhaps it's one part inspiration and one part determination that result in a winning formula. In the first of two articles spotlighting current WREN projects, we take a look at a new drinking water protection program developed by a coalition called the Columbia-Montour Coalition for Source Water Protection that focuses on public education in two counties to encourage protecting community water supplies now and for the future.
November 2013 (link to PDF)
Hydro Hubs
By Ben Grumbles, President, U.S. Water Alliance
A look at "emerging clusters of innovation and imagination" in the U.S. that Mr. Grumbles calls "Hydro-Hubs" (including one in Pittsburgh) that are helping to boost collective efforts to embrace and protect two most precious resources: water and the talent pool of future water leaders.

October 2013 (link to PDF)
Lessons Learned: Opposites Attract Attention for Water Protection
By Ellen Kiley
Local officials and local kids - two very different groups to focus on to get your WREN project off the ground.

September 2013 (link to PDF)
Protecting the Nation's Drinking Water Means Protecting Forests (Op-Ed) By Kathy Abusow, Sustainable Forestry Initiative, and Carlton Owen, U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities
Protecting forestlands is critically important in order to ensure a supply of clean, safe water. Recent research also suggests that
protecting watersheds reduces long-term water treatment and storage costs for consumers. Recognizing this, water utilities increasingly are taking responsibility for the health of local watersheds, with a special emphasis on protecting the forests they contain.

August 2013 (link to PDF)
Working with Homeowner Associations to Improve Water Quality By Susan Myerov, AICP
Community or Homeowners Associations (HOAs) represent an important audience for watershed education and demonstration projects in Pennsylvania.  The 6,400 Homeowner Associations in Pennsylvania represent about 1.5 million residents in 512,000 housing units.Working with HOAs to implement green practices can be challenging, but ultimately rewarding.

June 2013 (link to PDF)
Natural Allies: Craft Brewing and Source Water Protection
By Ellen Kiley
A good brewer cannot start a batch of beer without considering the quality of all raw ingredients, and that awareness makes  brewers and source water protection advocates natural allies.

May 2013
WREN awards $68,400 in funding to 15 community partnerships in PA.
Read more ...... Read project descriptions ....

April 2013 (link to PDF)
Source Water Protection Plans Key to Protecting Water Supplies from Agricultural Pollution
By Ellen Kiley and Julie Kollar, WREN
Learn about efforts to protect water resources with source water protection examples and collaboratives with a focus on addressing agricultural concerns .

March 2013 (link to PDF)
Reading Area Water Authority Takes a Coupled Approach to Source Water Protection and Watershed Protection
By Lori Burkert, RAWA Watershed Consultant
Learn about an award-winning water system in Berks County, PA and its source water protection efforts to ensure safe drinking water through watershed restoration and public education.

Winter 2013 (link to PDF)
Are Rain Gardens Mini Toxic Cleanup Sites? By Lisa Stiffler, Sightline Institute January 22, 2013
If you’re concerned about water pollution, you've likely heard this message: The runoff that gushes from our roofs, driveways, streets, and landscaped yards is fouling rivers, lakes, and bays nationwide.

January 2013 (link to PDF)
2013 WREN Community Watershed Education& Source Water Protection Collaborative Grants Now Available!
Grant Applications Due: Friday March 22, 2013
Project Activity Timeframe: July 1, 2013 — June 30, 2014
Learn more - Download Grant Guidance and Application Form at: http://wren.palwv.org/grants/grants_wren.html

December 2012 (link to PDF)
Navigating Pipelines through Pennsylvania Waters By Roberta Winters, Issues and Action Vice President, League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania
We don’t often think about pipelines. They are out of sight and generally out of mind. However, with natural gas development in our Commonwealth come thousands of miles of new and expanded infrastructure. While pipelines are the safest means of transporting natural gas and hazardous liquids, special consideration must be given to the site-specific and cumulative impacts of pipelines on our water resources.

November 2012 (link to PDF)
Can Public Drinking Water Coalitions Make a Difference? By Jim Clark, Penn State Extension in consultation with Julie Kollar, WREN Project Director
Rural Public Water Supplies face many problems and it has been my experience that solutions are always better, the more people you involve in their creation. Typically in PA, rural public water supplies operate independently, managing their own individual systems, and come together only periodically for trade association meetings, trainings, etc. Rural water systems do not typically even connect with nearby water systems that share their watershed upstream or downstream, or with watershed groups that may be working on restoration efforts in their source water areas, or with county planners, etc., but that is beginning to change in PA. Click above to read more...

October 2012 (link to PDF)
Lessons Learned from WREN Community Water Education Projects - 2012

Advice and Strategies regarding Communication, Focus, Innovation, and Evaluation.
By Ellen Kiley and Julie Kollar

September 2012 (link to PDF)
Establishing a Culture of Interagency Coordination It takes a village to implement an MS4 program. By Kate Bennett, Lynne Mowery, and Jean Haggerty
With an increased focus on enforcement from regulators and expanding complexity in permit requirements, local government stormwater managers need an effective strategy for engaging all of the operational units within their government to build a strong management program for their MS4 permit implementation. *Reprinted with permission from Stormwater magazine. www.StormH2o.com

August 2012 (link to PDF)
Profile: Water Suppliers Give Thumbs Up to Partnership in Lower Susquehanna River Basin By Pat Devlin
Water systems throughout the lower Susquehanna region came together with SRBC, PA DEP, EPA and other stakeholders, to discuss and share ideas about collaborative approaches to protect drinking water from pollution in an area that serves 3.9 million people with tap water.

July 2012 (link to PDF)
Farm Bill - Protecting Environmental Compliance Programs - A Public Health Priority By Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future
How  does the Farm Bill affect human health? Believe it or not, this legislation can help to manage land and water to reduce hazardous chemicals and the spread of disease. If too much fertilizer or pesticides are applied, those excess nutrients can end up in drinking water. These toxins can cause stomach illness, allergic reactions, liver damage, and cancer in our families. Read about about the link between the Farm Bill, conservation practices, and human health in a study from Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.

June 2012 (Link to PDF)
Tioga County Source Water Protection Coalition Sees Strength in Numbers
Why not do it yourself? You're a local water supplier: you have your own treatment facilities, your own Source Water Protection (SWP) plan, your own board, your own community to worry about -- why not go it alone? For many years, that has been the approach of individual drinking water suppliers around Pennsylvania.

May 2012 (link to PDF)
From Waste to Drilling Aid: State's contaminated acid minewater is proposed to help with unlocking natural gas.
By Matt Hughes, from the Times Leader.
At the suggestion of the Governor's Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission last year, the state Department of Environmental Protection is in the process of establishing an approval process for the use of contaminated water flowing daily from abandoned mine works in hydraulic fracturing which needs vast quantities of water to unlock gas from the Marcellus Shale. Read more>> Thanks to The Times Leader for allowing WREN to share this article with our readers.

April 2012 (link to PDF)
Profile: The Triple Divide Watershed Coalition: 2012 Winner of PA Governor's Award for Local Government Excellence
2011-2012 WREN Grantee
By Ellen Kiley and Julie Kollar
Weeks after being applauded as a national model for protection of treasured watersheds, the Triple Divide Watershed Coalition based in Potter County, has been awarded the prestigious Pennsylvania Governor's Award for Local Government Excellence in the "Building Community Partnerships" category.

March 2012 (link to PDF)
Profile: The River Alert Information Network (RAIN): Making Regional Drinking Water Collaboration Work, By Ellen Kiley and Julie Kollar
RAIN´s From the River to the Tap: What you can do to Keep it Clean 2011-2012 WREN Project has been busy holding public education events, reaching out to new partners, working on its website (www.3rain.org), and deploying additional water quality monitoring stations in regions where natural gas drilling in the Marcellus shale is active. The River Alert Information Network (RAIN) coalition has made great progress since holding its first public awareness events back in August 2007 with a small amount of seed funding from WREN, promoting the benefits of establishing an early warning spill detection system on the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Youghiogheny rivers.

January 2012 (link to PDF)
Act 13 of 2012, amending the Oil and Gas Act of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes (better known as HB 1950) was signed into law by Governor Corbett on Feb. 14, 2012. Some provisions went into effect immediately. Others become effective on April 14, 2012. As stated by the PA State Association of Boroughs, "This legislation will have significant impacts upon municipal land use and its regulations. " The law provides for an Impact fee, completely overhauls the 1984 PA Oil and Gas Act, and provides local ordinance standards. Areas outside the 55-county Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale formation - such as suburbs of southeastern Pennsylvania - may also be affected since the law limits municipal authority over the industry's "downstream" compressor stations and pipelines that bring gas to consumers.

November/December 2011 (link to PDF)
Does a Farm in Lancaster County Hold the Key to a New Stream Cleanup Model?
Drivers along Route 222 in Lancaster County have noticed 20,000 cubic yards of soil scraped off Rocky Knoll Farm and it is causing quite a stir. While it may not look environmentally friendly, the exposed soil is actually a new cleanup method for streams in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Thanks to Ad Crable and the Lancaster New Era for allowing WREN to share this article with our readers.

October 2011 Lessons Learned from WREN Community Water Education Projects - 2011 (download 4 pg PDF)
Interested in making a difference in your community? Consider designing a water resource education project and applying for a 2012 WREN grant. For this month's Feature Article, we went to the experts, our recent project leaders, and assembled their top tips and "lessons learned" to help you organize a successful project in your own neighborhood. Here is helpful advice from our past project leaders to get you started.

According to the responses we received to a questionnaire sent at the completion of 2011’s funded projects, project leaders outlined four major issues: Promotion, Time Management, Volunteers, and Flexibility. We’ll look at each issue and how it might be addressed.

September 2011 (link to PDF)
PENNVEST Funding Available to Assist Polluted Runoff Solutions
Bucks, Chester, Lancaster, Jefferson, and Montour County Conservation Districts have received over $5.3 million in funding since April through PENNVEST's new Non-point Source Pollution funding program. Funding will be used for range of projects including stormwater controls for equine farms in Bucks County, mushroom and dairy farms in Chester County, manure storage and control facilities throughout Lancaster County, and to eliminate acid mine drainage contamination from an abandoned mine in Jefferson County.

"Even during these tough economic times, work to protect our natural resources, investments and communities must continue full-steam ahead," said Mary Ann Warren, President of the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts.

August 2011

“Is Hydrofracking Worth The Risk?” (link to PDF)

“A water utility with a groundwater or surface water supply and associated watersheds located in a shale gas formation should be concerned about potential effects natural gas drilling projects can have on its water supply….”
Controversy surrounds the current implementation of hydraulic fracturing technology in the United States. Environmental safety and health concerns are being debated at state and national levels.
The July 2011 issue of AWWA’s Opflow magazine featured an article by Paul R. Easley on hydrofracking. Read more about hydrofracking concerns from a public water utility perspective.
Thanks to AWWA for allowing WREN to share it with our readers. (Copyright © 2011. All rights reserved)

June 2011

Rodale Water Purification Eco-Center UnveiledRodale Water Purification Eco-Center Unveiled

A rainwater collection system for flushing toilets is the first step is this demonstration project at the new visitor center restrooms at Rodale Institute in Kutztown, PA.  Next comes regular flush toilets and a standard, tho’ oversize, septic tank. 

Read more ....

For another example of water reuse, read the Feature on the University Area Joint Authority's system, first posted in June 2005.

May 2011

WREN awards $71,723 in funding to 15 community partnerships in PA.

Read more ...... Read project descriptions ....

April 2011

Why Doesn’t the United States Have an Energy Policy To Create Jobs and Protect the Environment?

A year after the Gulf Coast oil spill, with radioactive water spilling into the ocean off Japan and tales of woe from Pennsylvanians who believe their water supply has been affected by Marcellus shale gas drilling, the energy-water nexus grows stronger and stronger. So too does the opportunity to educate local communities about how to protect essential water resources in the midst of rapid change. With that in mind, the WREN Feature this month is Larry Schweiger's editorial from National Wildife magazine.

Read Larry's View.

March 2011

National Drug Take-back Day April 30

A second nationwide day to collect unwanted, expired, unused drugs is planned for April 30. Last Fall's collection day, though little publicized collected 121 TONs of pills, at 3000 collection sites nationwide. Police Departments are asked to sign up to host a drop-off site by March 31.

See the results from PA's Collection Sites

Read more ...

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DEA Press Release

February 2011

New de-icer is a sweet deal for the Chesapeake

Derrry Township, home to Hershey, PA is testing a molasses-like byproduct derived from sugar beets on icy, winter roads. The by-product - a de-sugared liquid typically fed to animals or flushed down the drain - will not freeze until temperatures get down to -30 degrees fahrenheit, which exceeds the anti-freezing point reached by salt alone.

Read more ....

(Reprinted from Bay Journal, January 2011)

January 2011

EPA Issues Final TMDL for Chesapeake Bay

On December 29, 2010, US EPA issued it's final TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) or "pollution diet" for the Chesapeake Bay. The pollution diet identifies the necessary reductions of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment from Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. A draft TMDL was issued in September and extensive public comments helped shape the final document.

The TMDL and much more can be found at http://www.epa.gov/reg3wapd/tmdl/ChesapeakeBay/index.html

Read Chesapeake Bay Foundation president Will Baker's comments.

Each Bay state prepared a Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) to guide it's work to clean up the Bay. Read Pennsylvania's WIP

For more coverage see PA Environment Digest.

December 2010 Feature

DRBC Issues Draft Natural Gas Development Regulations

A moratorium on Marcellus shale gas development in Northeastern PA will soon end, when regulations governing well development in the Delaware River basin are adopted. The Delaware River Basin Commission issued draft regulations on December 9, public comments will be accepted until March 16. Three public hearings are planned for the next three months, locations and dates will be announced later.

More info:

DRBC announcement and the draft regs: http://www.state.nj.us/drbc/notice_naturalgas-draftregs.htm

Philadelphia Inquirer report: http://www.philly.com/inquirer/front_page/20101210_Delaware_River_Basin_Commission_posts_proposed_Marcellus_Shale_rules.html?viewAll=y

PA DEP Secretary Hanger: http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/newsroom/14287?id=15519&typeid=1

New York Times report: http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2010/12/09/09greenwire-northeast-regulator-eases-proposed-natural-gas-77567.html?pagewanted=1&ref=earth

NYC Environmental Protection Commissioner's statement: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dep/html/press_releases/10-103pr.shtml

November 2010 Feature

Opinion- Crossroads And Choice For The Susquehanna, Chesapeake Bay And All Waters

This Opinion piece by Matt Ehrhart, Executive Director of the PA Office for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, appeared in PA Environment Digest on October 22. It discusses PA DEP's draft Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) for cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay.

Read the Opinion ...

The Public Comment period on the WIP closes November 8. Learn more ...

October 2010 Feature

Groundwater Depletion Rate Accelerating Worldwide

In recent decades, the rate at which humans worldwide are pumping dry the vast underground stores of water that billions depend on has more than doubled, say scientists who have conducted an unusual, global assessment of groundwater use.

In a report to be published in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, Marc Bierkens of Utrecht University in Utrecht, the Netherlands, and leader of the new study says soaring global groundwater depletion bodes a potential disaster for an increasingly globalized agricultural system.

Read the press release from the American Geophysical Union.

September 2010 Feature

Nationwide Drug Take-Back Program Planned for September 25

The first-ever national drug take-back program is being coordinated by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and state and local law enforcement partners. The National Take-Back Day provides an opportunity for the public to dispose of expired, unwanted, or unused pharmaceutical controlled substances and other medications for destruction. Although targeted at controlled substances, the program will accept all prescription and over the counter solid dosage medications - tablets and capsules. Improper disposal of unused medicines (such as flushing) can contaminate streams, groundwater and drinking water supplies.

Visit the website http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/takeback/ and enter your zipcode to find a take-back location near you.

Read the press release from DEA.


August 2010 Feature

Trout Unlimited provides stream surveillance training

to Pa. members in Marcellus Shale Region

Trout Unlimited and its Pennsylvania Council have initiated a new program to train Pennsylvania volunteers to use stream surveillance activities that monitor the impacts of Marcellus Shale development on streams where gas drilling is occurring.

Read more ...

July 2010 Feature

Community Pharmacies launch medicine take-back program

Visit www.disposemymeds.org to find a community pharmacy near you that will take back unused medicines. Hosted by the National Association of Community Pharmacies, www.disposemymeds.org is an online resource to help you to find medication disposal programs at a local independent community pharmacy. Enter your zip code in the Pharmacy Locater to find your nearest participating pharmacy.

Some states sponsor medicine return programs as well. To see what some are doing, check out http://www.medicinereturn.com (Washington State) and http://www.safemeddisposal.com/ (Maine).

Another site of interest is http://www.smarxtdisposal.net/index.html . This site gives instructions for proper disposal

of medicines when a take-back program is not available. It also has downloadable brochures and other handouts on disposal options and why flushing is bad.

Thinking about a sponsoring a medicine collection day in your community? Learn from the experiences of one WREN project, McKean County's pharmaceutical collection day.

Lawrence County will be sponsoring a collection program this year - with partial funding from WREN.

June 2010 Feature

New funding available from Pennvest for Nonpoint Source/Stormwater Projects.

The program, which began in March 2010, provides loans and grants for projects that address a wide variety of water pollution sources which cause water quality impairment (agricultural runoff, urban stormwater and abandoned mine drainage). Information on the program is available on the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority website at http://www.pennvest.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/pennvest_internet/9242

or the DEP website at


(scroll down to State Revolving Loan Fund Nonpoint Source Program)

The June 26 issue of the Pennsylvania Bulletin is expected to seek input on the the new NPS funding program.

Regional contacts for project discussions can be found here.

May 2010 Feature

Gas Pains - The rush to mine the Marcellus shale deposit imperils Pennsylvania’s woods and wildlife.
By Ted Williams

Link to the May-June 2010 issue of Audubon Magazine - Special Global Warming Issue

Read the Ted Williams column, Gas Pains

April 2010 Feature

Wisconsin Phosphorous Law in Effect
Wisconsin is the second state to ban lawn fertilizers containing phosphorous to protect its lakes and rivers.  The law went into effect on April 1. Many local governments prohibit or restrict use of phosphorous in lawn fertilizers. Others are increasing education efforts.

Read more ...

March 2010 Feature

Small Water Systems Get New Help with Source Water Protection

Thanks to a recent change in guidelines for DEP’s SWPTAP (Source Water Protection Technical Assistance Program), small community water systems (those serving less than 1000 people) can now get SWPTAP help to develop a Source Water Protection program.

Read more..

February 2010 Feature

Washington budget news:

January 2010 Feature

Coal-Tar-Based Parking Lot Sealcoat: An Unrecognized Source of PAH to Settled House Dust

A recent study by USGS looked at amount of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in "settled household dust" and found considerably higher amounts of PAH in apartments with coal tar sealed parking lots.
Read more ...

December 2009 Feature

The Source Water, Climate & Carbon Connection

Source water protection projects provide a potential avenue to engage in climate change mitigation

Can water systems generate carbon credits though source water protection projects, and sell credits

to pay for the projects?

Read more at: http://www.wwdmag.com/The-Source-Water-Climate-Carbon-Connection-article11236

- By G. Tracy Mehan III, Dr. Chi Ho Sham, Charles Hernick & Jane Obbagy

Source: Water & Wastes Digest   November 2009   Volume: 49 Number: 11
Copyright © 2009 Scranton Gillette Communications

November 2009 Feature

Philadelphia- America's Greenest City?

Philadelphia Water Department's Green City - Clean Water Plan will use innovative "green infrastructure" to better manage stormwater through a comprehensive, watershed-based approach. The Plan for holistically managing stormwater was submitted to EPA in September. Howard Neukrug, PWD Office of Watersheds Director, says that his department is “changing the way they look at rainwater and how it is handled. We value water and we’re changing the traditional way stormwater is managed ..." One unique aspect of the progam - in the coming years, PWD will begin charging for stormwater management based on amount of impervious cover.

The water department is not alone in the push for "Greenest City." A coalition of city agencies including Parks & Recreation, Streets, the Office of Sustainability and the School District are coming together to help make Mayor Michael Nutter’s call for Philadelphia to become America’s greenest city a reality.

Read more at http://www.planphilly.com/new-course-tunnels-trees

And check out PWD's Office of Watersheds at http://www.phillyriverinfo.org/ and their Combined Sewer Overflow website

Read about Philladelphia's Water Rates to Promote Run-off R eduction in 10,000 Friends of PA October E-Update. "... the new water rate structure .. will be based on the size of a property and on the amount of hard or impervious surface on a property ..."

Learn more about green infrastructure at the Low Impact Development Center and

EPA's Green Infrastructure webpage

and visit WREN's Rain Garden and Rain Barrel page and Watersheds - Stormwater page

October 2009 Feature

Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) challenge regulators.

As the Marcellus Shale gas "play" develops in Pennsylvania, regulators and politician.s debate what to do with the waste water produced as a by-product of drilling. PA DEP released a "Permitting Strategy for High Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Wastewater Discharges" last April. That Strategy called for using "available assimilative capacity of receiving streams where that is feasible" (i.e. dilution) until January, 2011. At that time new regulations with tighter limits on the amount of TDS that can be discharged to streams, would go into effect. The regulations are being developed now, and a Task Force has been established to discuss the proposed tighter TDS limits. The Task Force meetings and minutes are on the DEP website.

Meanwhile, in California, Governor Schwarzenegger has just signed into law AB 1366, that would give local water and wastewater agencies more power to ban salt-regenerated residential water softeners.

Water softeners are a source of TDS in domestic wastewater, and are pointed to as reason NOT to tighten TDS limits in wastewater discharges.

September 2009 Feature

The USGS released a report in August on mercury contamination in fish, bed sediment, and water from 291 streams across the nation, sampled from 1998 to 2005. Scientists detected mercury contamination in every fish sampled in every stream.

Read the Press Release; download the Report; visit the website

August 2009 Feature

American Water Works awards environmental grants

Congratulations to the nine Pennsylvania groups which were awarded grants through the American Water Works Environmental Grants program.

Read about their projects.

July 2009 Feature

Sustainable Water Systems: Step One - Redefining the Nation's Infrastructure Challenge

"The water management and policy community must redefine “water infrastructure” as one that integrates built infrastructure components with the protection and restoration of its supporting natural watershed infrastructure and the use of emerging small-scale water technologies and water management solutions."

A Report of the Aspen Institute’s Dialogue on Sustainable Water Infrastructure in the U.S

Read the full Report.

June 2009 Feature

The Carbon Footprint of Water

Have you ever woken up late at night in a cold sweat, thinking about the magnitude of water-related energy use and carbon emissions in the United States? Would you like to know how much energy can be saved through water-oriented, river protecting strategies? If so, you should check out River Network's new report The Carbon Footprint of Water.

May 2009 Feature
Tough Love for Clean Water

Dealing with the Chesapeake Bay clean up has been a lot like dealing with a loved one who is an addict. You constantly get your heart broken. (read more)

(reprint from Pennfuture Facts, May, 2009)

April 2009 Feature

Meadville Area Water Authority is Source Water System of the Year

This award recognizes a water system that has developed and implemented a highly effective
program to protect its source of drinking water.

March 2009 - Feature

EPA Invests $2 Million To Secure Philadelphia's Drinking Water Supply

Innovative Water Quality Tools to Keep Our Drinking Water Safe

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency presented a $2 million grant to Philadelphia to help the City address the risk of intentional contamination of its drinking water.

The project, called the Water Security Initiative, is expected to serve as a model for the nation's drinking water utilities. Similar water security pilot grants were awarded by EPA to New York City, San Francisco, and Dallas.

February 2009 - Feature

Lebanon Low Impact Development Featured on Stormwater PA website

The Village at Springbrook Farms development in Lebanon County is a good example of what is possible when a township that takes a long term view works with a developer willing to innovate. More than 100 BMP, including many non-structural BMPs, are distributed throughout the 59 acre site, maximizing infiltration and treating pollutants.

Watch an infomative video about the development on the PA Environment Digest Video Blog and visit the website www.stormwaterpa.org to see more innovative practices at work

January 2009 - Feature

Opinion - Why Is Environmental Funding Cut First During A Budget Crisis?

By Paul King, Interim President,Pennsylvania Environmental Council

This Op-Ed piece appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on December 24, 2008 and was reprinted in the PA Environment Digest on December 26.

December 2008 - Feature

Report of the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Task Force

The Sustainable Water Infrastructure Task Force was appointed by Governor Ed Rendell to provide recommendations for addressing the challenge of Pennsylvania's deteriorating water abd wasetwater infrastructure. Executive Order 2008-2 charged the Task Force to assess the commonwealth’s water infrastructure needs, to identify financing strategies to increase the level of investment in our water
infrastructure commensurate with those needs, and to make recommendations for more efficient water infrastructure management.

Read an abbreviated summary of the Task Force report.

Read the Full Report.

November 2008 Feature

Urban Stormwater Management in the United States

Report in Brief from the National Academies of Science
The rapid conversion of land to urban and suburban areas has profoundly altered
how water flows during and following storm events, putting higher volumes of water and
more pollutants into the nation’s rivers, lakes, and estuaries. These changes have degraded
water quality and habitat in virtually every urban stream system. The Clean Water Act
regulatory framework for addressing sewage and industrial wastes is not well suited to
the more difficult problem of stormwater discharges. This report calls for an entirely new
permitting structure that would put authority and accountability for stormwater discharges
at the municipal level. A number of additional actions, such as conserving natural areas,
reducing hard surface cover (e.g., roads and parking lots), and retrofitting urban areas with
features that hold and treat stormwater, are recommended.

October 2008 Feature

PBS segment on stormwater management aired  on The News Hour on October 8 suggests LID (Low Impact Development) could be required under the Federal Clean Water Act.


September 2008 Feature

Benjamin Grumbles Testimony

at Hearing on Emerging Contaminants in US Waters, Sept 18, 2008, House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment

for all the testimony, visit:


July 2008 Feature

New StormwaterPA Website Features Online Video Case Studies, BMPs, More

DEP has launched a new StormwaterPA website to help municipalities apply the most effective, proven techniques in stormwater management. Read the story in PA Environment Digest.

March 2008 Feature

Controversey over how Pennsylvania will meet its obligations to clean up the Chesapeake Bay.

Bay Journal - Bill for upgrades at PA water plants creates sticker shock.

January 2008 Feature

Are you as confused as we are about biofuels? Here are some articles that might help sort out what's good and what's bad.

Bay Journal - Biofuels beyond corn could be driving force in Bay's recovery

Water Implications of Biofuel Production in the United States

December 2007 Feature

Focus the Nation is a national teach-in and civic engagement project to focus attention on global warming. A national teach-in day is planned for January 31, 2008 and many colleges, high schools and civic groups are involved. Check it out and get your community involved! www.focusthenation.org .

October 2007 Feature

REAP (Resource Enhancement and Protection Program) Fact Sheet

Preliminary information on REAP from the PA State Conservation Commission

September 2007 Feature

Center for Watershed Protection Releases

Urban Stormwater Retrofit Practices

Latest Manual in the Urban Subwatershed Restoration Manual Series

for free download

August 2007 Feature

The Threatening Storm

This article in the August 2 issue of Time takes an important look at how we're managing water resources.

July 2007 Feature

Conflicting Public Policies: Why Is It So Difficult to Keep Pharmaceuticals Out of the Water

by Brenda Ortigoza Bateman, Ralph Thonstad, and Daniel Danicic

This article is posted here with permission from Water Resources IMPACT , Volume 9, Number 3 (Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.).  This issue focuses on an area of growing concern for water resources professionals:   emerging contaminants of concern in the environment. Water Resouces IMPACT is a member publication of the American Water Resources Association (www.awra.org).  It is a practical, solution-oriented news magazine that contains timely articles written for practitioners about issues currently facing them in their work as well as issues that are out on the horizon. The views expressed by individual authors and published in Water Resources IMPACT should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of AWRA. Subscription information is available here: http://www.awra.org/impact/rates.html

June 2007 Feature

Brook Trout the Perfect Diplomat for Negotiating Route to Cleaner Waters

by Nat Gillespie, distributed by Bay Journal News Service

Healthy brook trout mean healthy headwaters streams - essential to protecting the Chesapeake Bay.

May 2007 Feature

Integrated Planning for On-Site Wastewater Treatment Systems

A discussion of how best to plan for onsite and clustered wastewater systems

07 Feature

March 2007 Feature

Mercury Matters - Linking Mercury Science with Public Policy in the Northeastern United States.

A science and public policy publication from the Hubbard Brook Reserach Foundation, 2007, 28 pp.

February 2007 Feature

Dr Kent Crawford, US Geologic Survey, talks about  the USGS (PA DEP funded) study of pharmaceuticals in ground and surface water in PA.

Many thanks to Dave Hess, and Paenviromentdigest.com , for this video blog.

December 2006 Feature

Impervious Surfaces Driving Up Levels of Salinity in Streams

Reprinted from Bay Journal, newsletter of The alliance for the Chesapeake Bay

October 2006 Feature

EPA Recognizes Land Conservancy of Adams County for Drinking Water Protection

Reprinted from PA Environment Digest - 10/27/06

February 2006 Feature

Groundwater Pumping: A Pernicious Threat

by Robert Glennon

Morris K. Udall Professor of Law and Public Policy

University of Arizona

author of Water Follies, a collection of short stories on the consequences of our growing national thirst. Available from www.islandpress.org

This article appeared in River Voices, Fall 2005, newsletter of River Network

Many thanks to Robert Glennon and River Network for allowing us to publish Groundwater Pumping: A Pernicious Threat here.

January 2006 Feature

Out of the Pipe, Into the Watershed  

by G. Tracy Mehan III
Former assistant administrator for water at EPA explores the next era of the Clean Water Act.

This article appears in Water & Wastes Digest   September 2005   Volume: 45 Number: 9, Copyright © 2006 Scranton Gillette Communications

:Many thanks to  SGC for providing us the link to the article

Out of the Pipe, Into the Watershed

June 2005 Feature

Reclaimed Water Offers Solutions to Water Quality, Water Demand Problems

This article first appeared in the PA Environment Digest for June 6, 2005. Many thanks to editor Dave Hess for sharing.

Photo Rapid growth in an area with a high quality streams and dwindling water supplies is a recipe for environmental and economic problems. But in State College, the University Area Joint Authority and other partners are looking to reclaimed water to be part of the solution.

"Concerns about the impact the UAJA wastewater discharge was having on the temperature and water quality of Spring Creek, particularly in low-flow conditions, lead to a comprehensive sewage study of the area by the Centre Region Planning Agency," explained Brian Book, Manager of the Herbert, Rowland & Grubic, Inc. office in State College.

In 1997 the sewage and water quality studies concluded that the High Quality section of Spring Creek would not be degraded so long as flows did not exceed 6.0 million gallons per day (mgd).

However, projections showed growth would increase the discharge by up to 9.0 million more gallons a day by 2020 and increase of slightly more than 3.0 mgd.

"UAJA developed a multi-step strategy for dealing with this problem," said Book. "They attacked inflow and infiltration to eliminate rain water and other clean water entering their system and installed advanced nutrient removal technology on their treatment plant. They also started an aggressive water conservation education program and worked with large apartment building owners to install water saving devices."

The result of these initial efforts was to keep the discharge from growing as fast as it was originally projected. The studies projected the discharge to be right at 6 million gallons a day by this year, instead it now stands at 5.4 million gallons, inspite of significant growth in the area.

But clearly another strategy was needed.

In 1997 UAJA began a public discussion of 14 different wastewater treatment options.

"The special protection designation of Spring Creek meant we had to find treatment options that did not degrade the water quality of the stream." said Book. "UAJA began looking seriously at reclaimed water as one of the potential solutions."

This discussion was not without controversy, Book said, as the public questioned each of the alternatives and their potential environmental impacts.

When reclaimed water was selected to explore further, Herbert, Rowland & Grubic developed a proposal using micro-filtration, reverse osmosis and ultra-violet treatment technology to produce a wastewater discharge that was equivalent to potable water.

This ultra-clean water would then be piped four miles upstream in the Slab Cabin Run watershed, a small tributary to Spring Creek, discharged into one of two 20 to 25 acre wetlands for additional natural treatment and then allowed to flow down the Run and into Spring Creek. The water would travel four miles before it reaches the original UAJA wastewater discharge.

"We really took a belts and suspenders approach to designing this project to produce the cleanest possible water," said Book. "Nothing like this had ever been done in Pennsylvania before."

"Water reclamation technologies like these are already in use in the Disney theme parks in Florida, in Orange County, California and communities in Oregon and Washington as well at the New England Patriots Stadium," said Book. "Communities in Georgia and Virginia are also considering them."

"UAJA began with a demonstration area that included different water treatment technologies and a wetland area," said Book. ”While we were able to prove that the reliable technology could be installed and operated to produce ultra-pure reclaimed water, we were concerned that the water would be too aggressive, so we developed a method to “re-buffer” the water.”

After the results of the initial demonstration, the full scale proposal was developed that will ultimately treat and discharge 3 million gallons a day of reclaimed water.

Phase I that treats 750,000 gallons a day was just completed in May and about one-third of the pipeline to Slab Cabin Run has been constructed. Phase II, due to be completed in 2008, will raise that amount another 750,000 gallons. The final phase is scheduled to be completed in 2012.

"The route of the pipeline to Slab Cabin Run provides a unique opportunity to have businesses along the way use the reclaimed water, rather than regular public water, for their processes further reducing demand for groundwater," said Book.

Preliminary studies have indicated that a number of existing commercial establishments are willing or interested in using the reclaimed water, this includes concrete production, a commercial laundry, several public and municipal car washes, and an agricultural businesses.

Initial water users along the route now plan to reuse approximately 147,000 gallons per day (gpd), on average, and the Authority is currently trying to accelerate a reclaimed water service extension to allow the use of 600,000 gpd for summer golf course irrigation.

"Because of our work, reclaimed water is now considered by the Department of Environmental Protection as an acceptable technology for use when special protection watersheds are involved," said Book.

In addition to creating a potential revenue source and providing a feasible alternative to meet water quality regulations, Book said the project creates an economic development opportunity.

"The water treatment technologies we're using are producing water to the same strict standards used by semi-conductor manufacturers and other water quality sensitive industries," explained Book. "It would be a great offshoot of this project if high tech businesses are attracted to this area because of the clean water we're producing."

For more information, visit the HRG project webpage and the UAJA website. Contact Brian Book of HRG at 814-238-7117 or send email to: bbook@hrg-inc.com .

Video: UAJA Reclaimed Water Project Overview (update of video: startup date for phase I is August 2005 and the total cost of the project is $45 million) Quicktime File (large)

Attachment:Reuse Without Water Shortage – Book, Wert, Siegfried - PDF