The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently discovered that two of four water sampling sites along the Susquehanna River were severely polluted. Despite these findings, the DEP has failed to designate the river as impaired. An “impaired” designation would propel cleanup efforts forward. Without an “impaired” designation, the river’s pollutants may never be cleaned up at all. Demand cleanup of the Susquehanna River’s pollutants now before it’s beyond repair.
A DEP report, which was also approved by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, noted that the quality of the Susquehanna River’s water doesn’t meet the Clean Water Act’s standards to justify an impairment designation. This report came as a shock to local environmental groups, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and Chesapeake Bay Foundation, because the DEP’s prior investigation corroborated evidence that the river is in bad shape.
Smallmouth bass have been dying in unprecedented numbers in the Susquehanna River. Not only do the fish populations affect recreational fishing, they are also indicative of larger issues involving human food consumption and public swimming areas.
“Despite this setback, we will continue to work collaboratively with DEP and others to collect the necessary data to prove by whatever measurement necessary that the river is impaired,” commented John Arway, executive director of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. “Our anglers and the smallmouth bass that remain in the river deserve our full attention while we continue to debate their fate.”
Ultimately, the DEP’s report has delayed cleanup efforts for at least another two years. Given the level of toxicity in the river, waiting another two years could very well make the river irreparable. Sign my petition to urge the Pennsylvania DEP to reconsider the evidence and designate the Susquehanna River as impaired so cleanup efforts can begin.