Advocates say Pa. needs to make changes for clean water

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LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – As Pennsylvania falls further behind EPA requirements for keeping the Chesapeake Bay clean, environmental restoration advocates point to local projects as examples of efforts that could happen on a larger scale.

Joe Sweeney does a lot of work with Lancaster County organizations on projects that affect the environment and the area’s water supply. He says he would like to see more efforts like the restored wetland property on Gypsy Hill Road in West Lampeter Township.

“Three and a half years later, you have a thriving wetland here that not only is great for the bay in terms of what was removed, but also for the future in terms of keeping things out,” Sweeney said.

Sweeney says process of restoring the land required removing 22,000 tons of sediment deposited from mill dams in the 1800s.

Now, the property acts as a natural filter of pollutants.

Fencing keeps livestock manure from contaminating the water, which goes onto feed into the Chesapeake Bay.

Sweeney says more projects like this would help Pennsylvania better adhere to EPA standards.

“I think most Pennsylvanians would agree that there’s a lot more that we can do,” Sweeney said. “I think we need to start to look at things on a more effective efficient and economic way.”

In order to do that, Sweeney would like to see more collaborations between public and private organizations.

For example, preserving and restoring the wetlands involved efforts from Lancaster County, the Lancaster Farm Trust, and Franklin and Marshall College.

“If the definition of insanity is to continue to do the same thing and expect a different result, well maybe it’s time to rethink how we’re approaching these issues,” Sweeney said with a smile.

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