In the Pittsburgh region, whenever it rains — even just a little bit — the sewer system is overwhelmed with stormwater. When this happens, ALCOSAN, the region’s sewer authority, shuts the doors to its processing plant and millions of gallons of raw untreated sewage pour into Pittsburgh’s rivers. ALCOSAN has been told by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to fix this problem, soon.
The money to solve this sewage overflow problem, the biggest public works project ever in this region, will come from ALCOSAN rate payers. Rate payers need to be involved in the process so they can get the most value for the money they will be spending.
The beautiful and powerful Susquehanna River stretches 400 miles, provides drinking water to millions of people, supports wildlife and unique environments, and is the largest river feeding the Chesapeake Bay. Natural gas development is expanding throughout the watershed at a rapid rate. Governments responsible for protecting the watershed do not yet have much understanding of how fracking affects the watershed, let alone how to protect human or aquatic life from the negative impacts of fracking.
Clean Water Action’s “Greener Communities” report, released in January, evaluates green stormwater management by 25 municipalities in Chester County’s Brandywine Creek watershed. The report’s focus is “low-impact development” (LID), an approach that uses less pavement and more natural systems and green spaces to reduce environmental impacts.
Clean Water Action continued the highly successful campaign to stop the dumping of toxic gas drilling wastewater into rivers and streams. Clean Water Action reached a legal settlement with the McKeesport municipal sewage plant (south of Pittsburgh), getting an agreement to stop accepting all oil and gas wastewater at the plant. This is the third agreement reached with sewage plants in southwest Pennsylvania. At this point, sewage plants in Pennsylvania have stopped taking drilling wastewater. However, there are several industrial plants that appear to still be discharging wastewater from oil and gas operations. Clean Water Action will continue organizing in 2013 to stop all oil and gas wastewater from being dumped into Pennsylvania’s rivers.
By Myron Arnowitt
In many ways, 2012 was a difficult year for the environment in Pennsylvania. Last year, our state legislature passed the industry friendly gas drilling law, Act 13, which gave gas companies the right to drill wells or build pipelines right next to our homes and schools. It also exempted gas companies from common-sense local zoning ordinances. As violations and contamination problems from gas drilling mounted, we knew that giving industry a freer hand was not the direction state policy should be taking.
By Charles Griffith - Climate & Energy Program Director, Ecology Center
In a great example of a good start, Ann Arbor’s city council approved a plan earlier this month to further prepare the city’s infrastructure to support plug-in electric vehicles. The resolution calls on city staff to review permit and planning processes, as well as zoning codes, to remove barriers to creating plug-in infrastructure. The resolution also requires the city’s administrator to consider adding plug-in vehicles as part of the city’s fleet.
A manufacturer-run program for collecting mercury thermostats is failing to keep the toxic heavy metal out of the trash—and the environment. Turning Up The Heat II estimates that, at most, the industry recycling program has captured 8% of mercury thermostats coming out of service in the past decade. This has resulted in the disposal of over 50 tons of mercury into the environment, which can expose people to the neurotoxin through fish consumption.
HB 6526 Toxics Disclosure and Innovation for Healthy Children. This bill will:
new jersey currents
Hands Off New Jersey's Water!
There’s an expression we use a lot in New Jersey: “Jersey Strong”. We are proud of our strength and resilience and our ability to stand up to anything. Superstorms, superbugs, superfund sites — you name it, we (think) we can conquer it.
But New Jerseyans aren’t going to be
“Jersey Strong” much longer if a bill that will weaken New Jersey’s
drinking water quality makes its way through the New Jersey Legislature.
The new legislation (A2123), sponsored by Assemblyman John Burzichelli
(D-Gloucester), proposes to add industry representatives to the Drinking
Water Quality Institute (DWQI). This would allow polluting interests to
decide what level of contaminants end up in New Jersey tap water — as
if the state’s drinking water situation wasn’t already bad enough. Read More