APWC Newsletter Fall 2018
On September 13th APWC Board Members, Jim and Carolyn Vogt joined 14 others from Save Carbon County and HALT (Homeowners Against Land Taking) on a bus trip to the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) regular business meeting. At the conclusion of the meeting there was a one hour public comment period. Approximately 20 speakers commented-ALL were against the PennEast pipeline. It was great because everyone had a different reason why this pipeline should not move forward. Focus points included threats to Beltzville Park and Reservoir, damage that would be done to the creeks, wetlands, and habitat in our watersheds, economic threats to eco-tourism on the Delaware, major negative impact to an organic farm, preserved farmlands, and forest habitat, reasons why early tree-cutting should not be allowed, the toxic brew of fracking fluids, the threat to human and environmental health -- the list went on and on! There were 6 speakers from our group. All were well-informed and respectful to the DRBC. One of the request that we had was for DRBC to meet with us. (They had previously met with PennEast reps.) The Commissioners were attentive to the speakers and were seen taking notes. All of us came away from the meeting feeling that we had made the impression and the impact that we had wanted to. Good news: one of our members recently learned that DRBC sent a letter to FERC requesting that they prohibit the felling of trees within the Delaware River basin until DRBC issues an approval for the project. Hopefully no early tree-cutting!! Please visit StopPennEast.org for more information.
Spotted Lanternfly Alert!
As you have probably already heard, this pest is a severe threat in Pennsylvania. In fact, the Aquashicola Pohopoco watershed is in the quarantine zone. What this means is that if you move into and out of quarantine area, you must make sure that you are not transporting and living life stages of the Spotted Lanternfly to new areas which are not yet quarantined. Female flies deposit egg cases on a wide variety of surfaces. They are easily transported to new areas on cars, trailers, harvested wood, etc. The invasion started in Berks County in 2014. Since then they have spread out in an ever-widening circle. The are a serious economic pest to fruit trees, grapevines, ornamental plants, and hardwood trees. Over 67 host species have been documented! We must all be diligent and on the look-out for this pest. If you were to see hundred, even thousands of these insects feeding on, fouling, and devastating a host plant you would realize how much damage they can do. The adults have a long proboscis that they use to penetrate plants and feed on the phloem. This results in direct plant damage, but there is also indirect damage from the mold which subsequently grows on the excretions left by the insects. Early detection is vital to the control of the Spotted Lanternfly. Become familiar with the different life stages: what they look like and how to control them: https://extension.psu.edu/spottedlanternfly. If you find a suspicious insect or case, collect it in a container of alcohol. This will kill and preserve it until you can notify the PA Dept. of Agriculture. E-mail them at Badbug@pa.gov or call the invasive species hot-line at 1-866-253-7189. Important information to include is: where and when the specimen was collected, your name, and contact information. There is a lot of information on the web. Pen State Extension and PA Dept. of Agriculture have been especially pro-active in getting information out to the public. So please! Educate yourself and be on the lookout for the Spotted Lanternfly. Be a part of the solution to the spreading!!
Our Pocono Waters Campaign
Hopefully you are already aware of, and are signed up to support, the "Our Pocono Waters" petition at https://ourpoconowaters.org. In case you aren't, there is a battle currently brewing between this group and the Monroe County Clean Streams Coalition (MCCSC). This is a bit of a misnomer, since this group is comprised mainly of builders and developers who seek to strip the maximum protections from some streams. Last fall they filed a petition with the PA DEP over six streams that DEP had designated as exceptional value (EV). (Besides DEP, the Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board is responsible for stream classification). These are streams that have the cleanest and highest water quality. This classification gives the stream the highest level of protection. This does NOT mean that there can't be any development nearby, but it does mean that development must be well-planned and environmentally sound. EV status ensures that development does not impair or degrade the water citing "social or economic justification" for doing so. The DEP has already issued over 100 permits in EV watersheds, proving that our clean streams can be protected while still having economic growth. MCCSC claims that EV designations are ruining the economic future of the area. They further claim that the DEP lacks transparency in their redesignation process b because they advertise only on an "obscure" website. DEP uses the "Pennsylvania Bulleting" website to post information. They claim that if you don't check it "every single day" you won't know what is going on. Just us at APWC - Things do NOT move that fast at DEP!! MCCSC hired their own independent consultant, Northmandeau Associates, to check the data DEP and EQB used for awarding EV status. They claim that four of the six EV streams do not actually qualify for EV designation. Within two months of the filing the petition against DEP, groups like PennFuture and Brodhead Watershed Association (BWA) formed "Our Pocono Waters" and stepped in as intervenors to support the DEP. A ruling is expected in October 2018.
Biosolids and Synagro-What You Should Know
"Biosolids" is a term used for treated sewage sludge. Per Wikipedia, it must meet EPA pollutant and pathogen requirements for land application and surface disposal. At first, this might sound like a great idea. We all poop, and here is a method of re-using these waste products that remain even after sewage treatment. Problems arise from the fat that humans don't just flush their organic matters down their drains. We use and dispose into our water systems a multitude of other materials. For example: cleaning products, personal care products, paints, solvents, pesticides, herbicides, dyes-the list goes on and on. Other contaminants such as Helminths (intestinal parasites), Salmonella, pharmaceuticals, steroids and hormones may also be present in waste water. So what does Nynagro do? Synagro is a company headquartered in Baltimore, MD that calls themselves "the country's preeminent provider of biosolids and residuals solutions services". Basically, they take in sewage treatment plant by-products and further process them. Then they are sold as agricultural products such as "All-Go Compost", "Graulite Fertilizer Pellets", and "Renewable Fuel". Synagro is currently trying to put a plant in Plainfield Township near the Waste Management facility. It proposes to process 400 tons of material a day. This process is very near a deep pond that is connected to an aquifer. Basically it is a bakery to dry the material which is later sold to farmers to spread on fields. This who process is very complicated - WAY beyond the scope of this article. The point here is to let you know that this process is being played out here and now. Local farmers have been spreading biosolids for some time, and its' use will be increasing. Please get informed and use your voice??
Message from the Secretary
If your membership is due sometime in the second half of the year, you will receive a Membership form. We thank you in advance for your continued support!!! And as always, our members are welcome to come to meetings or engage in our other events. We would love to have you get involved. We have fun while doing good things for our community and protecting our environment.
PROTECT YOUR DRINKING WATER - PROTECT YOUR WATERSHED
New Master Watershed Class forming now!
Want to be involved?
Contact Jim Vogt at
November 27, 2018 - Note: This is rescheduled from the usual third Tuesday due to the Thanksgiving holiday.
Waterwaze Festival at Kettle Creek 10/20/2018
Master Watershed Stewards enjoyed helping at Kettle Creek!