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    DEP Releases Draft Report on Statewide Water Quality

    Public comment on draft report open until August 11th 

    The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has released the draft 2020 Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report, detailing the health of Pennsylvania’s 86,000 plus miles of streams and rivers and more than 160,000 acres of lakes. The draft report is open for public comment until August 11th, and comments can be made through the DEP eComment system.

    “In a state as rich in water resources as Pennsylvania it is important to be able to show people how their local streams, lakes, and rivers are doing,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “The online report lets people focus in on their local waterways to see how healthy they are or what is causing any impairments. Local input on impaired waters can help DEP restore those waterways.”

    In addition to the fully online report, required every two years under the federal Clean Water Act, the 2020 Draft Integrated Water Report also features a map viewer that allows users to zoom down to individual stream or river sections and export information. These tools can be useful for residents looking to learn more about their waters and for decision makers at the local level for planning purposes.

    “In a world now shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is even more important for DEP to make our informational resources available digitally,” said McDonnell. “The 2020 draft of the Integrated Water Report is another step towards making more DEP resources available and accessible.”

    The report also highlights specific efforts in Pennsylvania to restore impaired watersheds. Abandoned mine drainage and sediment pollution from runoff from agricultural, urban, and suburban landscapes have all degraded water quality in many parts of Pennsylvania, and intensive efforts have been made in several key watersheds to restore these natural resources. In Union County, local groups and DEP worked to restore the Turtle Creek watershed after it was impaired by sediment runoff.

    DEP invites public comments on the draft 2020 Integrated Water Report and will accept comments through Tuesday, August 11th.  All comments, including comments submitted electronically, must include the originator’s name and address. Those wishing to submit comments are urged to use the DEP’s online eComment system. Written comments should be submitted by email to ecomment@pa.gov, or by mail to Department of Environmental Protection, Policy Office, Rachel Carson State Office Building, P.O. Box 2063, Harrisburg, PA 17105-2063.

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