The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is focused on improving health and cleanliness of the Chesapeake Bay, and in turn Pennsylvania’s own waterways.
“Over the course of frankly decades, Pennsylvania has not committed the resources, the leadership, commitment and investment in the resources necessary to implement the plans that we have developed for clean water,” said Harry Campbell, Executive Director, Chesapeake Bay Foundation Pennsylvania.
Campbell says while wastewater treatment plants have met and exceeded goals and targets, stormwater agriculture efforts have fallen behind.
“Keeping soils and nutrients on the land instead of in the water is the basic premise of all the activities that are necessary,” said Campbell.
Campbell says PA’s stormwater infrastructure is underground, ill-maintained, or even dilapidated.
“So as a result, a lot of these municipalities are adopting what are known as storm water fees or authorities to help fund the local investment and in the improvement of this infrastructure,” said Campbell.
Those fees, to help cleanse the stormwater, remove nutrients, sediments and pollutants haven’t all been implemented yet.
“This report, when it looks back at what has been done, is looking back at a time when these plans have not fully reached maturation if you will,” said Campbell.
Campbell says if PA follows the Foundation’s blueprint, natural savings from clean water would amount to $6.2 billion a year, but would cost the state $257 million a year.
In a joint statement issued by Pennsylvania’s DEP and DCNR says the report does not accurately describe Pennsylvania’s Phase III implementation plan. It adds that Pennsylvania is committed to having all practices and controls in place by 2025 to achieve the the EPA’s target date.