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EPA Approves PA’s Updated Plan for Controlling Polluted Runoff

Release Date: 11/1/1999
Contact Information: Roy Seneca (215) 814-5567

Roy Seneca (215) 814-5567

PHILADELPHIA - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved Pennsylvania’s updated plan to improve the quality of its rivers, lakes and streams by minimizing pollutants that run off land and into the Commonwealth’s waters.

As part of the Clean Water Act, EPA provides $2.9 million each year to Pennsylvania for restoration work at high-priority watersheds. Approval of the updated plan makes Pennsylvania eligible for an additional $2.9 million.

Pennsylvania’s plan targets sources and activities that contribute to pollutants that get washed away during heavy rainfall and snow melts and end up in waterways. Last year, the state reported polluted runoff as the leading source of impairment to its waterways.

"Pennsylvania’s plan will improve the quality of its waterways and provide greater public health protection. Polluted runoff is the leading cause of our nation’s water quality problems. Finding practical and economical ways to minimize its harmful impacts is one of our biggest challenges," said EPA Regional Administrator W. Michael McCabe.

EPA’s approval is part of a key action under the Clean Water Action Plan to strengthen state programs. Pennsylvania’s plan is the first to be approved by the EPA in the mid-Atlantic region.

Polluted runoff is generated from sources such as agricultural land, abandoned mining areas, construction sites, and parking lots and pavements where chemicals, metals and other pollutants can travel from and end up in nearby waters.

Pennsylvania’s plan targets various sources of polluted runoff and identifies specific goals. Some projects include:

          • Increasing the number of farms with conservation plans by 16 percent over the next four years to help farmers lessen environmental threats.
          • Increasing low interest loans to municipalities and sewage treatment companies by 30 percent over the next three years to help them deal with sewage disposal problems and runoff of storm water.
          • Increasing the number of farmers enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program by 10 percent annually. This U.S. Department of Agriculture program uses financial incentives to encourage farmers and ranchers to enroll in 10 to 15-year contracts to set aside farmland for planting trees, grass and other types of vegetation to reduce soil erosion increase land devoted to wildlife habitats.
          • Approving five new storm water management programs each year.

Pennsylvania’s plan will serve as a road map that watershed organizations, conservation districts and resource agencies can use as to control, prevent and remediate polluted runoff.