Clean Water – An overview of water pollution in our Area

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Clean Water – An overview of Water Pollution in our Area – By Connie Hester

Tassi sent me to a Girty’s Run Status meeting. I didn’t know how much I didn’t know. And, I didn’t know there is a lot each of us can do to make a difference. This will be a multipart series. Each part will have sections: A-?

  • Part I – Make your Runoff Cleaner,
  • Part II – Reduce your Runoff, and
  • Part III – Reduce your Waste Water.

The greatest threat to our water quality is sewage overflow and polluted runoff. This area has enough combined sewer systems to cause significant problems when it rains. The combined system has only one pipe that carries both storm water and sewage.  As little as one-tenth of an inch of rainour average is one-quarter inch—can cause raw sewage to overflow into our rivers and streams causing serious problems. Polluted runoff comes from water or melting snow running off of parking lots, driveways, lawns, industrial facilities and agricultural operations. As it drains off the land, it picks up pollutants and carries them to our waterways and drinking water.

Both sewage overflow and polluted runoff affect your drinking water, property, neighborhood, fish, wildlife, health and safety. Local flooding damages homes, businesses and natural spaces like creeks and riverbanks.

Look where this Untreated Sewage Overflow, Dog Waste, Engine Fluids, Fertilizers, Herbicides, Contaminated Dirt, Motor Oil, Pesticides, Road Grit and Litter go when they leave us. 1   First it affects our streams, creeks and roads. Then homes and businesses in the path as it makes its way to our local rivers. Eventually, some of your pollution ends up in the Gulf of Mexico along with the pollution of another hundred million or so people. When you think about the massive amounts of pollution that goes into our waterways it is amazing that our environment is as resilient as it is.

The Allegheny water shed map is below and Enlarged here. Once the water flows into the Ohio river, many additional rivers feed into it along the way. It flows southwest to the Mississippi and out into the Gulf of Mexico. 

References: 1) Allegheny Watershed Alliance  2) Local watershed map

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