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May 2000
Water Policy News
Newsletter of the Water Resources Education Network

In this Issue

Twenty Six Wren Projects Funded
Project Leaders Gather
"Opportunity Grants" Available
Watershed Specialists Join District
Groundwater: A Primer for Pensylvanians Available
EPA Approves Pennsylvania's Source Water Assessment and Protection Program around the State
Home-A-Syst is Coming to PA
New On-Lot Technology Approved
The newsletter also includes new resources and calendar entries.

Twenty Six WREN Projects Funded
Communities across the state will benefit from WREN funding in the coming year as a variety of local coalitions undertake education projects aimed at improving and protecting their watersheds and drinking water sources. The grants awarded by WREN totaled $64,000, with funding coming to WREN from the Department of Environmental Protection's Source Water Protection and Watersheds (Nonpoint Source Pollution) programs. Some of the community activities planned include: erecting signs to identify a water supply reservoir, training teachers and volunteers on the use of a groundwater flow model, a traveling educational display, streambank restoration and educational programming, start up of watershed associations, and development of a watershed curriculum. For a complete listing of projects receiving funding call the WREN Resource Center, 1-800-692-7281

Project Leaders Gather
Continuing the WREN tradition of networking and meeting to sharing experiences, representatives of the 26 newly funded projects and the 19 projects that are completing their work will gather at the Allenberry Resort in Boiling Springs on June 15 and 16 to learn about available resources and get tips for continuing their community work. Keynote speaker will be Bob Kuzelka mentor of the Groundwater Guardian program, from the Groundwater Foundation. Barry Tonning, an expert on "getting your message out," is also a featured speaker and representatives of a variety of public and private agencies will speak on resources available for community groups.

"Opportunity Grants" Available
WREN has a limited amount of funding available for small grants ($100-$250) for "great, last minute ideas." The activities funded must meet the WREN grant criteria of being educational and must relate to drinking water source protection or watershed education. There is no timeline for applying for these grants, however projects must be completed by September 30, 2001. Send your request to WREN, 226 Forster St., Harrisburg, PA 17102.

Watershed Specialists Join District
Growing Greener is funding "watershed specialists" in county conservation districts across the state. Starting June 1, 45 new positions will be available to help foster and support local watershed groups, educational activities and watershed restoration and protection projects. Many districts have already hired new staff, or designated present staff members to take over the new job. Ten of the watershed specialists will serve multi-county areas in specific watersheds, the other 35 will serve the watersheds within their specific counties.

The watershed specialists will receive training at a week-long Watershed Academy, planned for July 24-28. Watershed groups are encouraged to contact their Conservation Districts to meet their specialists and suggest areas in which support is needed.

Now Available
Groundwater: A Primer for Pensylvanians.Fourth printing, newly revised and updated. Call the WREN Resource Center, 1-800-692-7281, to order copies for your public events or order online.


EPA Approves Pennsylvania's Source Water Assessment and Protection Program around the State
EPA has approved Pennsylvania's Source Water Assessment and Protection Program (SWAPP) plan. The plan, submitted by DEP, describes how sources of drinking water will be delineated, how potential sources of contamination will be evaluated to determine their potential impact on the drinking water supply, and how the results of each assessment will be provided in a comprehensive form to the public.

"Not only does the SWAPP plan describe the methods DEP will implement to assess sources of drinking water across the Commonwealth, but it also expresses the department's commitment to a continuing effort to engage the public," EPA Regional Administrator Bradley Campbell stated in his letter approving the program. "The series of regional workshops, Tap Into Watersheds, was an exemplary effort of providing a forum for the public to express their ideas for how this assessment program could address the public's need for information on the potential contamination of their drinking water sources."

Campbell added that DEP has designed an assessment process that will encourage continued public participation. This is a means of securing a local sense of ownership of the community water system assessments. EPA believes the assessments will increase the public's awareness of how land use activities directly influence the quality of their drinking water and will encourage local communities to protect their valuable and vulnerable resources.

For more information, contact Joe Lee at 717-772-4018 or e-mail at lee.joseph@dep.state.pa.us.

For More Information on PA.'s Source Water Assessment and Protection Program call the WREN Resource Center, 1-800-692-7281 and request a copy of "Protecting Drinking Water Sources."

Around the State
Washington County Watershed Alliance was recently featured in the Aquifer, the newsletter of the Groundwater Foundation, for their extensive water resources educational activities. The Alliance grew out of the Washington County Groundwater Coalition to support watershed associations throughout the County. The Alliance has published brochures, sponsored workshops, sponsored mall displays, provided residential water screening and helped in grant-writing and financial management for watershed associations.

The Jefferson County Water Resources Network has educated teachers, students and community volunteers in the Brookville, Brockway and Punxsutawney school districts and the Jefferson County Vocational School. Each school district formed a WREN team to assist with student projects. Sixth, seventh and eight grade science classes have learned about stream restoration techniques and water quality monitoring.

Creek Connections, at Allegheny College and the Crawford/Venango Senior Environmental Corps, sponsored two Drinking Water Discovery Days at which students and seniors together learned about where their drinking water comes from and what is needed to make it safe. The groups toured a water treatment plant and participated in a number of hands-on activities.

Lititz Run Watershed Association, in cooperation with the Warwick School District and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, is hosting Community Watershed Awareness Days May 19 and 20. On May 19 all fifth grade students in the Warwick School District will visit various sites to learn about their watershed; on May 20 the same sites and others will offer programs to the general public.
For more news of WREN Project activities, visit the projects area

Home-A-Syst is Coming to Pennsylvania
A spin off from the well received Farm-A--Syst program, Home-A-Syst helps homeowners identify potential sources of water contamination in and around their homes. Penn State Cooperative Extension Agents have been trained in the program and regional workshops for DEP employees and other groups will be held. For more information on how your group can be trained to use the program, contact your County Extension Agent.

New On-Lot Technology Approved
Alternate and experimental on-lot wastewater treatment systems have been evaluated in a recent project at Delaware Valley College. As a result of the studies, standards have been developed for a drip irrigation system using a peat filter or aerobic treatment processes. The new standards allow use of peat filters on lots which would require use of sand mounds and, potentially, on lots with very shallow soils.
The Delaware Valley College studies are anticipated to expand on technologies that can be used to effectively treat wastewater and repair malfunctioning systems in areas with poor soils. Additional studies are planned.
For more information see the DEP website (directLINK "drip system") or call Karen Finches at 717-787-8184.

This newsletter is a project of the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania Citizen Education Fund - WREN.   Funded by a grant from the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection

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