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Schuylkill Action Network Recognizes Environmental Excellence

Release Date: 05/07/2008
Contact Information: David Sternberg, EPA, 215-814-5548, Deborah Fries, PaDEP Southeast Region 484-250-5808,

PHILADELPHIA (May 7, 2008) The Schuylkill Action Network today recognized three schools and the Philadelphia Water Department for developing environmental and educational projects that help to protect sources of drinking water in the Schuylkill River Watershed.

The Schuylkill Action Network Source Water Protection Awards were presented at the Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center as part of EPA’s celebration of National Drinking Water Week.

“The Schuylkill River provides nearly two million people with healthy drinking water every day. These schools are making valuable contributions by developing innovative environmental management and educational programs to protect this vital resource,” said
Jon Capacasa, director of water protection division for EPA’s mid-Atlantic region.

The schools receiving the awards were:
* Albright College, in Reading Pa., for developing a bank and fencing geographic information system (GIS) layer for the Schuylkill Action Network agriculture workgroup,
* Kutztown High School, in Kutztown, Pa. for planting native shrubs and trees on stream banks to control runoff and
* Springside School in Philadelphia, Pa., for designing a rain garden to reduce runoff.

In addition to presenting awards to the schools, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection recognized the Philadelphia Water Department for its voluntary efforts to protect the drinking water sources that serve 1.6 million customers.

Beginning in 2000, the Philadelphia Water Department conducted assessments of both the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers, and worked with upstream users to address threats to these resources presented by pathogens, storm water, agriculture and acid mine drainage. Key
initiatives in the protection of these rivers are the Schuylkill Action Network and the Delaware Valley Early Warning System.

"The Philadelphia Water Department has developed innovative, effective partnerships and tools that work," said DEP Deputy Secretary for Field Operations, Mike Sherman. "Today we have upstream and downstream watershed partners protecting the Schuylkill, and a high tech monitoring system that guards public drinking water supplies from both rivers," he added.

The Schuylkill Action Network was formed in 2003 as partnership to clean up and protect the Schuylkill River and its tributaries. Members include EPA, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Philadelphia Water Department, Delaware River Basin Commission, the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary; conservation districts, local, state and federal agencies, watershed organizations and other non-governmental organizations.

Source water is untreated water from streams, rivers, lakes, or underground aquifers which is used to supply private wells and public drinking water. The Schuylkill River and its tributaries are an important source of drinking water and fish habitat. For more information on the Schuylkill Action Network, visit: on the Internet.