Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority Launches Regional Stormwater Management Project – Senator John Yudichak

Announcement: Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority Launches Regional Stormwater Management Project

“On the banks of the Susquehanna River, the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority (“WVSA”) recently launched an innovative regional stormwater management project that could be a springboard for other cooperative efforts between the region’s municipalities. Senator John T. Yudichak, Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) Secretary Patrick McDonnell, and representatives from more than 30 municipalities from Luzerne County announced the joint venture on the River Commons in Wilkes-Barre.

Under the plan, the WVSA will coordinate and implement a regional and comprehensive stormwater management program that will reduce pollution of the Susquehanna River and help Pennsylvania meet its obligations under the Chesapeake Bay Agreement. Under existing federal law, municipalities in Northeastern Pennsylvania must curb pollution of the Susquehanna River by as much as 10% in the next five years or each community could be penalized for failure to comply with federal law. The Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) regulations are intended to keep harmful contaminants out of the river and minimize each community’s environmental impact upon the river and downstream communities. As the EPA targeted reductions are met, the Susquehanna River will become cleaner thereby making it safer for wildlife as well as for fisherman, kayakers, and other sportsmen to enjoy.

The WVSA will assume the lead–on behalf of member municipalities–to finance capital projects, submit all stormwater management plans and permit applications, and implement pollution control measures throughout its service area that will reduce stormwater pollution to meet the EPA’s benchmarks. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, will be assisting with stormwater mapping as part of the program.

“The WVSA is well-prepared to meet this challenge and we are eager to advance this project after months of planning,” said Jim Tomaine, Executive Director of the WVSA. “Over the next five years, we will reduce pollutants contaminating the Susquehanna River, which will improve water-quality.” By working together, the WVSA estimates that the region will save $57 million over five years and $274 million over the next two decades, in present-value dollars. Individual households will pay a nominal fee—anywhere between $3 and $4.50 monthly—to the WVSA to finance the regional effort. The WVSA estimates that households will pay between 70% and 90% less than if their municipality pursued EPA compliance on its own. “We all have a responsibility to clean up the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay because no single municipality could meet this obligation alone,” said Senator Yudichak. “The regional stormwater project—designed to improve water quality and wildlife habitats throughout the watershed—represents the most comprehensive environmental project in northeast Pennsylvania in the last forty years.”

Learn More about Senator Yudichak (14th Senate District)
More about this Project

Pipeline Panel Discussion Northeastern Pennsylvania

Wilkes University is hosting a panel discussion entitled “Gas Pipelines in Northeastern PA: Challenges and Solutions” on Thursday, 19 March between 7:30 P.M. – 9:30 P.M.  The session will be held in Stark Learning Center, Room 101.  The event is free.

The purpose of the session will be to offer the public a balanced perspective on natural gas pipeline development.  Regulatory, planning, and landowner issues to protect PAs citizens and its environment while allowing for infrastructure development will be explored.

Panelists will include Mike Mara (UGI Energy Services), Dave Horn (LIUNA), Davitt Woodwell (Pennsylvania Environmental Council), Paul Metro (Pennsylvania Utility Commission), Josh Longmore (Luzerne County Conservation District), State Senator John T. Yudichak, Kenneth Klemow (Wilkes University), and Brian Oram (BF Environmental Consultants Inc).

The anticipated format will involve panelists responding to a series of prepared questions, followed up by moderated questions from the audience.


 Directions to Campus

Campus Map (You want Stark Learning Center)


Online Training Courses Related to Natural Gas Development
Sustainability Training
Stream Restoration Courses

Gas pipelines in Northeastern PA: Challenges and Solutions

Gas pipelines in Northeastern PA: Challenges and Solutions


ATSDR/CDC Northeast PA Polycythemia Vera (PV) Investigation Projects Update


In 2004, using state cancer registry records, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PADOH) found a PV cluster in northeast Pennsylvania. PV is part of a disease group called myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN), which is a group of slow-growing blood cancers where the bone marrow makes too many red blood cells, white blood cells, or platelets.

In 2006, ATSDR was asked to help study PV patterns in the area. From 2007-2008, ATSDR reviewed medical records, conducted genetic testing, and confirmed this PV cluster.

In 2009, Congress funded ATSDR to continue this investigation. ATSDR is overseeing 18 projects with PADOH, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and various universities and private organizations. These projects are based on recommendations from an expert panel. The panel identified four areas for investigation; epidemiology, genetics, toxicology, and environmental studies.

As of October 1, 2013, all of the contracts for the 18 projects have ended.  The last to end was the tissue bank contract, which closed for recruitment of new tissue donations from the PA tri-county study area in May 2014.  At this time, no new samples will be added from the tri-county study area, but the geographically identified (but de-identified in terms of personal information) donations from the tri-county study area will continue to be available for researchers to access via this national tissue bank established at the Myleloproliferative Disease Research Consortium (MPD-RC).  You can continue to follow the work of the overall MPD-Research Consortium on their website at: http://www.mpd-rc.org/home.php.


The graphic with this email provides this summary as of August 2014.  I’ve attached this graphic both as a “snapshot” in the body of this email, as well as a pdf attachment.  Projects highlighted in “green” in the attached graphic have work complete and a final product available (if applicable).  Projects highlighted in “yellow” have final products in progress and undergoing clearance.  Projects highlighted in “red” have final products that are anticipated but not yet started.

As of August 5, 2014, work is complete and a final product is available (if applicable) for projects.  We are happy to announce that one new project (#16/17, PADEP’s environmental testing) moved from yellow to green since my May update; we now have a factsheet and final ATSDR health consultation report evaluating an initial set of radiological environmental sampling results from the study area.  At the request of ATSDR, PADEP collected and analyzed environmental samples within the tri-county area and ATSDR evaluated the possible health effects of exposure to the radiological elements in the samples.  Environmental samples from the cluster area were collected as a component of the overall research investigation into the PV disease cluster:

  • Indoor air was analyzed for radon.
  • Soil, sediment and water samples were analyzed for metals, organic compounds, and radioactive substances.

This ATSDR public health report focuses on an initial set of the radiological environmental sampling information.  Additional reports evaluating other environmental and health information from the PV investigation will be released at a later date.

The ATSDR report found:

  • Some houses in the study area had elevated levels of radon gas in indoor air. Radon gas was also found in the private well water of some homes.
  • Soils from the study area had slightly elevated levels of radium.
  • Without additional information, ATSDR cannot determine if the cluster of cases of PV disease in the tri-county area is related to the radiological exposures observed in the environmental sampling information.


In this report, ATSDR recommends:

  • All residents in the study area should have their homes tested for radon gas. Houses with elevated radon levels should be retested. If a home is retested and elevated radon levels continue, residents should contact the state of Pennsylvania radon program hotline at 1-800-237-2366 and request additional information on how to reduce the radon levels in the home.
  • People in homes with high levels of radon in their drinking water should contact the PADEP Radon Program for assistance. Home water supplies can be treated to reduce radon levels.
  • ATSDR recommends that in those areas where radium in soils seems to be elevated, additional sampling may be helpful to further understand this exposure pathway. ATSDR will discuss the potential for a future collaboration with the U.S. Geological Survey to further evaluate levels of radiological contaminants in environmental media in the study area.


These documents are available at:



Final products for another 9 projects are still in progress and remain coded as yellow.  Final products for 2projects are anticipated but not yet started and remain coded as red.

For more information:

Visit ATSDR’s web page on PV: http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/sites/polycythemia_vera/index.html

Call ATSDR’s toll-free PV information line: 866-448-0242 or email jcx0@cdc, which will connect you to Dr. Elizabeth Irvin-Barnwell, ATSDR Division of Toxicology and Human Health Sciences.

Contact Lora Siegmann Werner, ATSDR Region 3, by phone at 215-814-3141 or by email at lkw9@cdc.gov.


Other Resources

1. Radiological Testing and Screening – http://www.water-research.net/index.php/radiological-contaminants

2. Radiological – Testing Parameters – http://www.water-research.net/watertest/radiologicalwatertesting.pdf

3. Radon in Water


Energy a potential career for teens- We Talk About How We All Use Energy and are Part of the Solution


We Talk About How We All Use Energy and are Part of the Solution

“PRINGLE – Brian Oram quizzed a group of students at the West Side Career and Technology.

“What percentage of energy do we waste?” Oram asked.

“Too much” and “a lot” were some responses. Oram pushed for a number.

“Fifty eight percent of the energy we produce, we waste,” Oram disclosed.

Oram was one of a dozen speakers at the school Wednesday talking about careers in or tied to the energy field. He is a licensed professional geologist and soil scientist and owns a private environmental consulting business, B.F. Environmental Consultants Inc.

Cabot Oil & Gas and Junior Achievement of NEPA Inc. helped organize the sessions at the school. The purpose of the sessions was exposing students to career options, Administrative Director Nancy P. Tkatch said.

The energy field has jobs and careers “in our own backyard” for students, such as welders, petroleum engineers and computer-technology specialists, Tkatch said.

Bill desRosiers, external affairs coordinator for Cabot Oil, said he talked to students about job opportunities resulting from Marcellus Shale production in Susquehanna County. He said some of the jobs are not even at drilling sites, where natural gas is released through hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. Those jobs involve repairing drill bits and computer technologies, desRosiers said.

Fracking opponents object to potential environmental impacts, including contamination of ground water, depletion of fresh water and the migration of gases and hydraulic fracturing chemicals to the surface.

mbuffer@citizensvoice.com, 570-821-2073″

Note my writing – story by MICHAEL P. BUFFER (STAFF WRITER)  –


1. Great Event
2. We need to talk more about the energy we generate and how we waste.
3. Need to come up with a solution that includes all stakeholders and is an integrated solution.  All energy sources should be on the table
4. I was not interviewed for the story.
5. But I really like these events – we are part of the problem and we must be part of the solution.


1. Conservation First
2. Educate and Use Energy Wisely
3. Make Good Long-Term Decisions as a Community
4. Need for a National Energy Policy – not picking winners, but getting us (citizens and business) to work together.
5. Importance and role for Groundsource, Geothermal, and biomass options.