Pennsylvania's waterways

From Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers to the smaller streams in our backyards, Pennsylvania’s waterways are part of what make living here so great.

Yet incredibly, more than 15,000 miles of our streams and rivers are so polluted that they’re considered unsafe for fishing and swimming. This is partially because polluters take advantage of inadequate protections for more than half of Pennsylvania’s streams, leaving them vulnerable to more pollution.

More than half of our streams are unprotected

How can this be? Polluters are exploiting loopholes in the Clean Water Act—threatening to turn back the clock on 40 years of progress toward cleaning up our rivers and streams. We need our elected officials to restore Clean Water Act protections to Pennsylvania’s streams and waters across the country, before it’s too late. Stand up for our river and streams.

Together, we can show our elected officials the support they need to stand up to polluters.

Our streams are not sewers

We cannot allow polluters to treat our rivers and streams like their own personal sewers. Until we close these loopholes in the Clean Water Act, however, nearly 45,000 miles of streams in Pennsylvania will continue to lack the protections they need—and deserve.

While proposals have been put forth to close these loopholes, polluting industries and their allies in Congress have threatened to block these protections. We need to show our elected officials the public support they need to stand up to the polluters.

Together, we can win

Protecting Pennsylvania’s waterways is a big challenge, but we’re up to the task. We are talking to Pennsylvanians about what’s at stake, testifying in Harrisburg and Washington, D.C., educating lawmakers, and shining a spotlight in the media on the need to protect our waterways. But the real key to winning this fight is you.

Together, we can ensure protection for all of Pennsylvania’s great rivers and streams—now and for future generations.

Clean Water Updates

News Release | PennEnvironment

Growing Foodie Movement Sparks Sustainable Agriculture Blueprint

As the first day of spring arrives, symbolizing the beginning of a fruitful growing season for Pennsylvania farmers, more and more of the state’s residents are looking for ways to promote sustainable agriculture and healthy farming in their lives and through the political decisions they and their elected leaders make. To help guide the growing “Farm to Table” movement, PennEnvironment released a new study today that outlines how sustainable farming benefits our environment, economy, and public health--and offers a blueprint of state policies to improve our food system.

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News Release | PennEnvironment

PennEnvironment, Sierra Club announce Clean Water Act lawsuit against PPG

Two statewide environmental groups filed a federal lawsuit today against PPG (Pittsburgh Plate Glass) Industries alleging ongoing violations of the federal Clean Water Act at the company’s Ford City site which is polluting the neighboring Allegheny River. 

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News Release | PennEnvironment

Pennsylvania Budget a Mixed Bag on the Environment

As the dust settled on a sprint-like finish to state budget passage, citizen-based environmental group PennEnvironment judged the outcome as a mixed bag for the Commonwealth’s environment.

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Report | PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

Wasting our Waterways 2012

Industrial facilities continue to dump millions of pounds of toxic chemicals into America’s rivers, streams, lakes and ocean waters each year—threatening both the environment and human health. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), pollution from industrial facilities is responsible for threat- ening or fouling water quality in more than 14,000 miles of rivers and streams, more than 220,000 acres of lakes, ponds and estuaries nationwide. 

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News Release | PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

10 Million Pounds of Toxic Chemicals Dumped into Pennsylvania’s Waterways

Industrial facilities dumped more than 10 million pounds of toxic chemicals into Pennsylvania’s waterways, making Pennsylvania’s waterways the seventh worst in the nation, according to a new report released today by PennEnvironment.

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