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Pfizer Joins Conestoga Watershed Improvement Project

Release Date: 5/6/2003
Contact Information: Roy Seneca, (215) 814-5567

Roy Seneca, (215) 814-5567

PHILADELPHIAThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that Pfizer is joining EPA and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection in a new water quality improvement project for the Conestoga Watershed that involves innovative trading practices.
Under the pilot project, industries and municipalities can earn credits by reducing pollution through projects that improve water quality in a watershed.

As a participant, Pfizer is cleaning and restoring stream banks along the Santa Domingo Creek and Lititz Spring Run in Lancaster County near a Pfizer manufacturing facility in Lititz, Pa. This will improve water quality by reducing the sediment and nutrient loadings into the waterways.

“Water quality trading is a win-win project that helps industries, local governments, and most of all, the environment,” said Donald S. Welsh, regional administrator for EPA’s mid-Atlantic region. “EPA’s water trading program results in cleaner water at less cost and in less time. It provides the flexibility needed to meet local challenges while demanding accountability that water quality does improve.”

EPA’s water quality trading policy – unveiled in January – is designed to cut industrial, municipal and agricultural discharges into the nation’s waterways. The trading policy encourages states and tribes to develop flexible water quality trading programs that reduce the cost of improving and maintaining the quality of the nation’s water quality. For more information log on to EPA's Trading website at

In order for a water quality trade to take place, a pollution reduction "credit" must first be created by reducing pollution. This “credit” can then be traded or used to offset pollution elsewhere. For example, a landowner or a farmer could create credits by changing cropping practices and planting shrubs and trees next to a stream, which improves stream quality by filtering pollutants through tree roots.

Water quality trading uses economic incentives to improve water quality. It allows one source to meet its regulatory obligations by using pollutant reductions created by another source, which has lower pollution-control costs. The standards remain the same, but overall efficiency is increased and costs are decreased. Under the policy, industrial and municipal facilities would first meet technology control requirements and then could use pollution reduction credits to make further progress towards water quality goals.