Report: Local Waterways — Including Chester County’s — Are Unhealthy for Fishing, Drinking, and Recreation

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Chester County's waterways have become a health threat to both humans and wildlife.

According to a new report by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection, Chester County — along with most of the region — has some of the most polluted waterways in the Keystone State. Frank Kummer peered into the murky details for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Overall, 2,398 more miles of the state’s streams have been designated as impaired over the last two years, bringing the total to 27,886 miles. These include segments of several of the area’s most well-known waterways, such as the Schuylkill and Delaware rivers.

Chester County ranked sixth in the region among the counties with the highest percentage of streams impaired for aquatic life, recreation, fish consumption, or drinking. From the 1,416 miles assessed, 1,020, or 72 percent, were found to be impaired.

The main causes for stream impairment in the region include agricultural, stormwater runoff, and acid-mine drainage.

“The many thousands of miles of impaired streams, and high proportions in southeastern Pennsylvania counties described in this report, tells us that polluted streams are still common in our neighborhoods, and we have a lot of work to reduce the pollution reaching those streams and eventually the Delaware River and its estuary,” said John Jackson, a scientist with the Stroud Water Research Center in Avondale.

Read more about the findings in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

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