HARRISBURG, PA, Dec. 15, 2009 -- Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger announced today that 265 miles of streams in Pennsylvania will receive increased protection after being designated as "exceptional value" waterways by the Environmental Quality Board.
"Streams that are designated as exceptional value will receive the highest level of protection against pollution from point and non-point sources that could affect the quality and aquatic health of the watershed," Hanger said. "This demonstrates the usefulness of maintaining a statewide water quality monitoring network that can accurately report the current health of our watersheds and determine if water quality in these basins is changing for the better or worse."
The waterways receiving the new designation include Young Womans Creek in Clinton, Lycoming and Potter counties; Muncy Creek in Sullivan County; an unnamed tributary to Tunkhannock Creek in Susquehanna County; Spruce Creek in Union County; Blue Eye Run and East Hickory Creek in Warren County; and East Branch Dyberry Creek in Wayne County.
DEP recommended the new designations based on five years of data collected through Pennsylvania's Water Quality Network, which provides long-term, fixed-location monitoring of watersheds' chemical and biological quality.
Data collected through monitoring gives DEP a reference point from which to observe changes in water quality and to track the health of streams to see if human activity is affecting water quality or to determine if cleanup and pollution control efforts are improving conditions. The network also gives the state data to monitor the quality of water that Pennsylvania sends to or receives from neighboring states.
Surface water quality standards are mandated by the federal Clean Water Act, which requires states to designate uses for streams such as drinking water, recreation and fishing, and to set criteria to protect streams for those uses. In addition, an anti-degradation component of the act requires that streams designated as exceptional value or high quality must be maintained at existing quality.
For more information, visit www.depweb.state.pa.us, keyword: Water Quality.