Pennsylvania DEP Invites Public Comments on 2024 Water Quality Report

WaterImage via Pixabay

PENNSYLVANIA — The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently released the draft version of its 2024 Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report. This biennial report provides an update on the health of streams and lakes across the state, reflecting the Shapiro Administration’s commitment to ensuring access to clean air and water for all Pennsylvanians.

Data for this crucial report is collected year-round from DEP’s water quality monitoring stations spread throughout the state. The amassed information plays a key role in the DEP’s ongoing efforts to restore any waterways that fail to meet the required water quality standards.

As mandated by the federal Clean Water Act of 1972, the DEP submits the Integrated Water Quality Report to both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the public every two years. During this process, Pennsylvania waters are assessed based on four categories: drinking water, fish consumption, aquatic life, and recreational use. Based on these assessments, each waterway is then classified as either ‘supporting’ or ‘impaired’.

The report includes an interactive map under the “2022 to 2024 Changes” section, enabling Pennsylvanians to easily gauge the status of their local lakes or streams. With just a click, users can see the specific uses DEP assessed the waterway for, and if impaired, the cause and source of the impairment.

The 2024 report expands upon the previous assessments, with 7,566 stream miles and 103,777 public lake acres newly assessed or reassessed. Since 2004, the report highlights that approximately 967 miles of streams and 28,727 acres of public lakes have been restored, as shown on a color-coded interactive map.

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The report represents a cumulative assessment of 99 percent of the state’s stream miles and lake acres since Pennsylvania began reporting in accordance with the Clean Water Act.

The DEP is now inviting public comments on the report until December 11, 2023. Comments can be submitted online through the DEP eComment system, emailed to ecomment@pa.gov, or mailed to the DEP Policy Office at Rachel Carson State Office Building, P.O. Box 2063, Harrisburg, PA 17105. All comments must include the commenter’s name and address.

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