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Schuylkill Action Network Kicks off Drinking Water Week By Signing Constitution to Protect the Schuylkill River

Release Date: 5/3/2004
Contact Information: Roy Seneca, (215) 814-5567

Roy Seneca, (215) 814-5567

PHILADELPHIA – Regional environmental officials kicked off National Drinking Water week today by signing a unique founding document that represents a team approach to cleaning up and protecting the Schuylkill River and its tributaries, which provide drinking water for more than 1.5 million people. National drinking water week is this week – May 2 - May 8.

“For more than 200 years, residents in this area have relied on the Schuylkill River as a drinking water source, a source of commerce, and recreational enjoyment. Now the Schuylkill is relying on us to take the necessary actions to protect and enhance its quality and uses,” said Donald S. Welsh, regional administrator for EPA’s mid-Atlantic region.

The Constitution of the Schuylkill Action Network formalizes an ongoing commitment to focus on drinking water and water quality issues of the Schuylkill River watershed, which includes parts of 11 counties in southeastern Pennsylvania and covers approximately 2,000 square miles.

The Schuylkill Action Network, formed in March 2003, includes EPA, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Philadelphia Water Department, conservation districts, local, state and federal agencies, watershed organizations, non-governmental organizations, and other essential stakeholders assisting with the crafting of local solutions.

The constitution was signed on the banks of the Schuylkill River at the Philadelphia Water Department’s Fairmont Water Works Interpretive Center by dignitaries that included Welsh, Kathleen McGinty, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection; Bernard Brunwasser, commissioner of the Philadelphia Water Department and Carol Collier, executive director of the Delaware River Basin.

Signees of the constitution made a pledge to continue to work together toward restoring and protecting the Schuylkill River watershed as a drinking water source; promote stewardship and education; transfer the experience and lessons learned to communities; and enhance governmental communications and coordination.

Along with signing of the constitution, the network also presented source water protection awards to area schools and universities that have incorporated environmentally sensitive property management practices and educational programs into their daily operations. Award winners included:

• Oak Lane Day School
• Owen J. Roberts Middle School
• Penn-Alexander K-8 Public School
• Sulzberger Middle School
• Upper Perkiomen High School
• Villanova University
• Spring Ford Area School District

“Educational properties account for more than 8,000 acres in the Schuylkill River watershed, and proper land management of these areas is a critical part of source water protection. These schools have demonstrated effective source water protection programs such as educational outreach in the school and local community, reducing storm water runoff, use of porous pavement, and proper disposal of hazardous materials,” said Welsh.

The Schuylkill River and its tributaries have long been recognized for the important role they play as a source of drinking water and fish habitat. For more information on the Schuylkill Action Network, visit on the Internet.