DCNR Announces Improvements To PA’s PaGWIS
The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) recently announced improvements to the PA Groundwater Information System (PaGWIS) private water well database. PaGWIS is a repository of half a million water well records dating back to 1965. Changes to the database include the addition of more than 1,600 springs found in the Commonwealth, and improved search tools, data packages, and report formats.
To find out more, please see the link below:
Conservation Events in April 2017
The month of April is filled with environmentally themed events. Below is a list of events. Be sure to visit the Events Calendar at www.pikeconservation.org or like Pike County Conservation District on Facebook to be sure you are kept up to date.
April 8- Pike Wayne Trout Unlimited Banquet: Reservations required; contact John Hochreither: 570-352-8303 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
April 9- Pike Wayne Trout Unlimited River Clean-up: Visit www.pwtu.org/ for more information.
April 17- Pike County Conservation District Roadside Clean-Up: Contact Michele Long at email@example.com or by phone 570-226-8220.
April 21-23- Hawley EarthFest: Contact Rebecca Holler at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 570-226-8220 or visit www.hawleyearthfest.com/.
April 23-30- Conservation District Week: Contact Pike County Conservation District 570-226-8220 or follow us on Facebook to see the various events during the week.
April 27- Pike/Wayne Envirothon: Contact Rebecca Holler at email@example.com or by phone 570-226-8220.
April 29- Pocono Environmental Education Center Earth Day: Visit www.peec.org/ for more information.
Community Environmental Report
Your Home Health Status and Know Your H20?
Direct Link to this Nationwide Program-
Visit Us at http://www.knowyourh2o.us
Know Your H20?
We Launched Two – New Phone Apps and they are Available for IOS and Android Platforms
- Know Your H20? – Know Your H2O? is an educational tool that can help you diagnose the problem with your water. This app will lead you through a series of questions to pinpoint the issues with your water. You can reach your diagnosis through describing symptoms that are effecting your home, your health, or the water itself. This App is linked to the Water Research Portal.
- Baseline Water Testing (Pennsylvania) – The PA Baseline Testing mobile app is an educational tool for residents of Pennsylvania who are impacted by Oil & Gas Development or Subsurface Coal Development. By selecting which factor impacts your region, you can discover various recommendations and tiers of water testing that can help bring you piece of mind about the safety of your drinking water. Got Data? You can also submit your own testing data and results to help continue to build the PA Clean Water Team’s database.
The Nationwide Program
- The program helps you to identify the existing and historic environmental hazards in your community.
- We are working with a national environmental database search company to offer a report to help you understand your home or your future homes environmental health status within a community.
- We are doing this by taking a snapshot of the current and historic environmental concerns and hazards in the community and a review of select criminal activity.
- Featured Activities or Issues: Old Landfills, Leaky Fuel Tanks, Hazardous Waste Sites, Department of Defense Facilities, Superfund Sites, Radiological Sources, Clandestine Drug Labs, Floodplains and Wetlands and more.
- Report cost $ 55.00 per property, payable to the Keystone Clean Water Team.
Questions – please contact us at (570) 335-1947 or email the program manager, Mr. Brian Oram, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keystone Clean Water Team – 501c3
15 Hillcrest Drive, Dallas, PA 18612
B.F. Environmental Consultants Inc.
Starting Off the New Year Right
by Brian Oram
Happy New Year, I would like to propose we make one additional commitment this year. This commitment is to care about the water we drink as we try to remember how we impact or influence the quality and quantity of the water resources. Although it is the beginning of a new year (wishing you GOOD Luck in 2017!), for the water cycle the new year started in October. This is the time of the year when the aquifer begins to recharge. Many people are unaware that the aquifer must recharge, it is not infinite. In Pennsylvania and the Northeastern United States, we are blessed with having abundant water resources, but something we should not take for granted. In 2016, we had an interesting election year that brought up many concerns. Also in the news, came a reminder of the limitedness of the water. A number of regions of Pennsylvania were put on a drought advisory and many small streams, springs, and even a few shallow wells dried up, i.e., no water. With 2016 in the rear-view mirror, I would like to suggest a few small steps to help move us forward in a positive direction. These steps are as follows:
- Learn about how and where you get your drinking water – Does your water come from a private source or city water supply source?
- If the water is from a private well- When did you have the water tested? For parts of Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey, it is not uncommon for about 40 to 50% of private wells to have a problem that may make the user or a guest sick.
- If you are on a city water source- Have you ever looked at the Annual Confidence Report about the quality of your drinking water? The most common problem with community water sources is elevated levels of trace metals like lead and chlorine by-products like trihalomethanes, i.e., suspected carcinogens. For information on water testing, please visit water-research.net.
- Are you using your water wisely? There are ways to use our drinking water resources more efficiently. A website titled, wateruseitwisely.com, offers over 100 tips on how to best use water. My favorite tip is “Turn off the water while you brush your teeth and save up to 4 gallons a minute. That’s up to 200 gallons a week for a family of four”. There are over 4 million households in Pennsylvania, this one lifestyle change could save 41.6 billion gallons of water. This is only one change!
- Our surface water and groundwater are connected, and “we all live downstream”. This phrase means that how we use the groundwater resources directly impacts the surface water resources and we all are interconnected. Therefore, when using cleaning products, chemicals, or managing a waste we all live downstream from someone else. For example, the biggest source of man influenced global oil pollution is not massive spills or leaks. Only 8% of man influenced oil pollution comes from pipelines and major releases. The biggest sources are the small leaks from our boats, cars, and other means of transportation and the improper disposal of waste oil by individuals.
- Know Your H20? – it is important to know how you can influence the quality of the water resources, but it is also important to know the historic hazards in your community that may be contributing to a problem. With this in mind, it is important to learn about the historic hazards in your community and surrounding your home. The Keystone Clean Water Team offers neighborhood or community hazard survey reports for communities within the Unities States. The 501 c3 offers a few free reports each month. To get more information about this program, please visit – knowyourh20.us.
The best way to start off the New Year is not with a significant lifestyle change, but baby steps. Make a few basic commitments and make small changes that will help you and your family save and conserve water, check the quality of your drinking water, learn about the hazards in your community, and perhaps implement 1 item each month that will save and conserve water. It is important to remember that the less water you use, the more money stays in your pocket.
A few short phrases we should try to remember.
We ALL Live Downstream !
Groundwater and Surface water are Connected!
We are Part of the Water Cycle – Not just an Observer!
You can help – Make A Donation !
DEP Declares Drought Warning for Four Counties, Increases Drought Watch to 30 Counties
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has declared a drought watch for Pike County, following a meeting Wednesday of the Commonwealth Drought Task Force.
“We’re asking residents and businesses, particularly in central and eastern counties, to use water wisely and follow simple water conservation tips to ease the demand for water,” said DEP Acting Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “We suggest that public water systems that implemented water restrictions this summer continue them to preserve their drinking water supplies.”
Data from the Commonwealth drought monitoring network show that dry conditions persisting in the middle of the state and lack of precipitation in the eastern part of the state have deepened precipitation deficits, resulting in extremely low stream flow and groundwater levels, particularly in the Lehigh Valley and surrounding areas in the Delaware River Basin.
• Drought warning: Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, and Northampton Counties. Citizens are encouraged to voluntarily reduce their water use by 10-15 percent.
• Drought watch: Adams, Bedford, Berks, Bucks, Centre, Chester, Clinton, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lebanon, Luzerne, Mifflin, Montgomery, Northumberland, Perry, Philadelphia, Pike, Schuylkill, Snyder, Sullivan, Union, Wayne, and York Counties. Citizens are encouraged to reduce their nonessential water use by 5 percent.
DEP encourages all citizens to take steps to reduce their water use:
• Run water only when necessary. Avoid running the faucet while brushing your teeth or shaving, or letting the shower run for several minutes before use.
• Check for household leaks. A leaking toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water each day.
• Run dishwashers and washing machines only with full loads.
• Replace older appliances with high-efficiency, front-loading models that use about 30 percent less water and 40 to 50 percent less energy.
• Install low-flow plumbing fixtures and aerators on faucets.
DEP also offers other water conservation recommendations and water audit procedures for commercial and industrial users, such as food processors, hotels and educational institutions. These recommendations and additional drought monitoring information are available on the DEP Drought Information website.
Full press release available at: DEP’s website.
The Keystone Clean Water Team was very happy to work with the local “Poconos Region” Property Owners Association to offer a private well water screening test for the residents drinking water. For the 2016 program, a total of 16 residents participated in the program and for this program water testing was offered at two different tiers. The basic tier provide general information related to the bacterial quality of the water and level of nitrate, iron, and total hardness. The advanced tier provided testing for trace metals such as arsenic, copper, lead, zinc, and more comprehensive analysis of the overall quality of the water. The following is a summary of the results:
2 samples were positive for total coliform bacteria, but no samples were positive for E. coli.;
1 sample exceeded the drinking water standard for lead and 5 other samples had detectable levels of lead in the water;
13 of the 16 samples contained detectable levels of nitrate, but at no point did the level exceed or approach the drinking water standard of 10 mg/L;
1 sample had elevated levels of manganese, but 3 had detectable levels of manganese in the water; and
15 of the 16 samples were considered slightly to corrosive to metal piping and 1 sample was considered very corrosive to metal piping.
The pH of the water ranged for 6.2 to 7.5 and only two samples had a pH that was less than the recommended drinking water standard of 6.5. These samples were associated with water that had detectable levels of lead, but not the highest level of lead. The sample with the highest level of lead appeared to be a sample collected at the kitchen sink after the water had been treated with a water softener.
From this snapshot, we learned the following:
- There appears to be a 13 % probability that a private well may contain total coliform bacteria.
- The water produced from the aquifer tends to be slightly corrosive and have total hardness that ranges from 30 to 150 mg/L.
- The groundwater does not appear to have elevated levels of nitrate.
- The groundwater does not appear to have E. coli. bacteria.
- Lead was detected in some water samples, but the occurrence in the well water is related to the corrosiveness of the water, type of water treatment, and type of plumbing fixtures in the home and not the groundwater aquifer.
- Homeowners that reported problems with sulfur odor or black particles were the same homeowners that had elevated or detectable level of manganese.
- If you are considering the use of a water softener, please consider the type of household plumbing and it may be necessary to install a neutralizing filter.
Based on these results, we recommend that all private well owners conduct an annual water quality test. To facilitate this effort, the Keystone Clean Water Team offers an online mail order informational water testing program for private well owners throughout the USA and we offer our Know Your H20? Free Phone App. To learn about our mail order program, please visit us at http://www.water-research.net or http://www.knowyourh20.us. If you have any questions, please call or email 570-335-1947 or email@example.com.
Mr. Brian Oram, PG
Governor Cuomo Announces Immediate State Action Plan to Address Contamination in Hoosick Falls – PFOA
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a series of immediate actions by New York State to address contamination in the Village of Hoosick Falls’ water supply and at the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Site. These announcements follow today’s meeting between the Governor and senior state and local officials.
“We are taking immediate and aggressive actions to protect the health of Hoosick Falls residents,” said Governor Cuomo. “These actions will ensure that the source and extent of PFOA contamination is identified, and all necessary steps are taken to swiftly address the chemical’s presence. My administration is investigating this situation fully, and we will do whatever is necessary to ensure safe, clean drinking water for local residents.”
Emergency regulation issued to classify PFOA as a hazardous substance; Saint-Gobain facility to be classified as a State Superfund Site to unlock state resources and legal remedy to address contamination.
State will conduct Health Risk Analysis to establish PFOA drinking water guidance level; retest private wells in the village of Hoosick Falls; and immediately install filtration systems at school and other community gathering places
State hotline (1-800-801-8092) established to help public stay informed.
NJ – Drinking Water Guidance on PFOA – DEP also has taken the first step toward developing a preliminary drinking-water guidance value (Pdf Format) for PFOA. Based on existing animal studies and estimates derived from a lifetime of exposure (70 years), DEP identified a guidance level of .04 parts per billion (ppb). Average blood levels in the United States are approximately 5 ppb.
These actions include to:
- Issue Emergency Regulation to Classify PFOA as Hazardous Substance: The state Department of Environmental Conservation today issued an emergency regulation to classify Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), the contaminant found in the Village’s water supply, as a hazardous substance. This provides DEC with the legal authority to pursue State Superfund designation and cleanup of the site using State Superfund resources.
- Classify Saint-Gobain Facility as a State Superfund Site to Unlock State Resources to Address Contamination: Further, the state announced it will classify the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corporation McCaffrey Street Plant and other possible sources of contamination that may be identified in Hoosick Falls as State Superfund sites to unlock state funding resources under the State Superfund Program to address the contamination in the community. DEC has already initiated its investigation and inspected the Saint-Gobain property. If in the course of its continuing investigation DEC finds any additional sources of PFOA contamination, they will also be listed. The Superfund Class 2 designation will allow the state to use State Superfund resources to investigate and clean up PFOA contamination much more quickly than waiting for a federal Superfund designation. In addition, the state will be able to seek cost recovery for the investigation and cleanup activities. DEC will collaborate closely with EPA in the investigation of PFOA in groundwater, soil and other media in Hoosick Falls to determine appropriate cleanup activities.
- Conduct Health Risk Analysis to Establish PFOA Drinking Water Guidance Level: To address the water supply contamination, the state Department of Health will conduct a risk analysis, examining the latest national research, to establish a drinking water guidance level for PFOA.
- Retest Private Wells in the Village of Hoosick Falls: In addition, the state Department of Health will retest 24 private wells in the vicinity of the Saint-Gobain facility.
- Immediately Install Filtration Systems at School and Other Community Gathering Places: Out of an abundance of caution, the state committed to installing water filtration systems at the local school, public health facilities and other community gathering places.
- Blood Testing of Community Members to Begin in Mid-February: Beginning in mid-February, DOH will begin blood testing for community members for those who wish to be tested.
- Establish State Hotline for Public to Stay Informed: Residents can contact 1-800-801-8092 for more information.
Further, once PFOA contamination is addressed, the state committed to work with the community and banks to safeguard property values.
Department of Environmental Conservation Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos said: “Under the direction of Governor Cuomo, New York State is working collaboratively with all levels of government from the EPA to the village and town, to address the contamination in Hoosick Falls. Classifying PFOA as a hazardous substance and making the Saint-Gobain site a State Superfund site will free up resources to investigate and clean up the contamination quickly. We will continue our open dialogue with local officials and the people of Hoosick Falls to ensure they are informed throughout our investigation and remediation.”
Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said: “The actions taken today by Governor Cuomo, the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of Health will safeguard the residents of Hoosick Falls and help address their concerns. The Department of Health will continue to test private wells, and will soon begin a blood testing program to measure residents’ exposure to PFOA. Additionally, DOH will continue to examine the latest and best scientific research to establish a drinking water guidance level for PFOA.”
Senator Kathy Marchione said: “I want to personally thank Governor Cuomo for convening this afternoon’s highly productive and positive meeting regarding Hoosick Falls. The announcement that the state recognizes the seriousness of this issue and is taking purposeful action that will help Hoosick Falls families is welcome news. Our discussion today focused on realistic solutions including the state’s regulation of PFOAs, testing of all local wells, blood testing and carbon filtration systems to help protect the health and well-being of families in Hoosick Falls. The positive steps agreed to today are welcome news for the community. I have been carefully monitoring this situation and will continue advocating for Hoosick Falls families as this process moves forward.”
Town of Hoosick Supervisor Mark Surdam said: “I am thankful for the Governor’s recognition of the problem our community is facing with its water supply, and for the actions the state taking today. I want to assure all of the residents in the Town of Hoosick that we are undergoing a tremendous effort to deal with these concerns.”
Village of Hoosick Falls Mayor David Borge said: “I am grateful for Governor Cuomo’s swift action to help our community quickly restore the use of our water supply – and am pleased by the level of coordination by state agencies responding to this issue. This is a major step forward for all residents of the greater Hoosick Falls community.”
Hoosick Falls Central School Superintendent Kenneth Facin said: “Today’s meeting with Governor Cuomo was productive and meaningful, and promises real results for our students and parents. We are appreciative to be a part of a singular, concerted effort to rectify the environmental issues surrounding our water supply. As a proactive measure to ensure the health and safety of our students, the state is assisting our school district with the installment of a carbon filtration system. We are grateful for the Governor’s leadership in galvanizing resources to assist our community.”
State’s Earlier Actions to Address PFOA Contamination
Today’s actions build upon DEC and DOH’s initiatives announced earlier this month to address the PFOA contamination to protect public health and the environment. The state urged EPA to take vigorous action on the federal level to regulate PFOA and to quickly add the Hoosick Falls site to the Superfund National Priorities List. The state, Saint-Gobain and the Village are collaboratively working on an agreement to install water treatment systems to remove hazardous chemicals from the Village’s water supply. In addition, DOH is undertaking a cancer registry study to investigate the incidence of cancer among Village residents and biomonitoring studies. Further DOH is offering PFOA biomonitoring to measure the level of PFOA in Village residents.
PFOA was detected in the Village’s public drinking water in 2014. Since then, DOH has worked closely with the Village to provide technical advice and assistance for water sampling and to evaluate water treatment options to eliminate health risks. Because the levels of PFOA in public water were higher than the EPA health advisory level, DOH determined that people should reduce their exposure by avoiding the use of tap water for drinking and cooking. In addition, DOH continues to monitor private wells and will have more results very soon.
Although the use of PFOA is being phased out, it is still used to make household and commercial products that resist heat, and repel oil, stains, grease, and water. This includes nonstick cookware, surface coatings for stain-resistant carpets and fabric, and paper and cardboard food packaging. Studies of people have associated exposure to PFOA with an increased risk for several health effects. This includes associations with effects on the liver, immune system, thyroid gland, cholesterol levels, blood pressure during pregnancy, and kidney and testicular cancer.
Forestry Training and Tree Planting Grants in Pennsylvania PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
TreeVitalize state-wide 2017 grant applications available
The Pennsylvania Urban & Community Forestry Council has secured funding for tree planting grants and innovative projects grants throughout the state through our partnership with the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Tree planting grants will be available to Pennsylvania municipalities and non-profit agencies throughout the state for projects related to tree plantings with a strong volunteer base. Applicants are required to have the assistance of their local service forester and/or Penn State extension forester in developing a planting plan. Interested applicants should begin by contacting their local DCNR service forester or Penn State Extension Forester and include them in any conversations concerning proposed tree plantings. Those foresters can provide necessary guidance pertaining to grant opportunities as well as native species and sustainable projects. Applications are due September 30, 2016. Notifications will be posted by November 1st with grant terms to include January 1, 2017 – December 31, 2017.
For more information, or for a copy of the grant application, please contact Jessica Cavey, Development and Grants Coordinator, at (717) 599-8650 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tree Tenders on-site classes
Join thousands of other concerned citizens like yourself. Become a Tree Tender and help increase tree canopy cover in your community. Tree Tenders® is a training program that empowers concerned residents to make dramatic strides towards restoring and caring for the tree canopy in their communities. The course is designed for lay people and experts alike. Become one of the Tree Tenders restoring and tending your part of the forest. Instruction is provided by DCNR’s Bureau of Forestry, in partnership with Penn State Extension, PHS, and other local urban forestry experts.
Tree Tenders training includes: Tree Biology, Urban Stresses on Trees, Tree Identification,Tree Pruning and Root Care, Tree Planting Techniques, Community Organizing
Upcoming classes offered by Pennsylvania Horticultural Society:
September 21, 28, and October 5 – Philadelphia, PA – 5:45 PM to 9 PM
September 22, 29, and October 6 – New Hope, PA – 5:45 PM to 9 PM
September 28 and October 5 and 19 – Haverford, PA – 5:45 PM to 9 PM
Register online at http://phsonline.org/programs/tree-tenders
Stay tuned for next month’s email for dates and locations of other Tree Tenders classes around Pennsylvania this fall.
Managing Invasive Plants
August 19, 2016, 8:30 AM to 3 PM
Invasive weeds and pests are a major threat to our natural and cultivated landscapes, spreading quickly and displacing or killing native plants. The Managing Invasive Plants program will provide participants with the knowledge and skills to properly identify invasive plants and develop strategies for treatment and control. Topics discussed will include invasive species identification, invasive plant control, and herbicide application methods, equipment, and safety. A morning classroom session will be followed by an afternoon field demonstration.
PDA pesticide applicators update credits will be offered: Category 05 (4 credits), Category 06 (4 credits), Category 10 (4 credits), Category 23 (4 credits), Core (4 Credits)
Online registration is available at http://extension.psu.edu/invasive-plants
For more information, contact Vincent Cotrone at (570) 825-1701 or email@example.com.
2016 Tree Canopy Conference: Preserving Trees in Our Communities
October 13, 2016, 9 AM to 5 PM
Haverford College, Stokes Hall Auditorium
Why is Tree Canopy So Important? A healthy tree canopy provides important ecosystem services including air pollution removal, storm water runoff reduction, and energy conservation. Tree canopy provides habitat for wildlife, and also has a positive impact on human wellbeing, community cohesion, and economic stimuli. In this conference, we will look at tree canopy preservation and reduction, and consider some of the greatest threats communities are facing as they try to preserve canopy cover.
- Joseph Townsend, University of Delaware – The important benefits of trees in the urban environment
- Jason Henning, USDA Forest Service – Computerized tools, like iTree, to measure canopy cover
- Scott Wade, Longwood Gardens – Pennsylvania Champion Trees
Cost: $125 (includes lunch and break refreshments)
Continuing Education Units: This conference carries CEUs for ISA certified arborists and PA landscape architects.
Register online at https://online.morrisarboretum.org/canopy
For more information or to register by phone, call the Morris Arboretum Education Department at (215) 247-5777.
This conference sponsored by Morris Arboretum School of Arboriculture and Haverford College Arboretum. Co- Sponsored by John E. Ward & Company Tree Experts.
Extension Urban Forester
The Penn State Center – Pittsburgh
Extension and Outreach
1435 Bedford Avenue, Suite A
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Extension Urban Forester
Penn State Ecosystem Science &
1015 Bridge Rd
Collegeville PA 19426
More Training Courses in Water Resources and Ecology.