Mon River No Longer Belongs on 'Impaired' Quality List, PA-DEP
25 April 2014
Bill Vidonic, Staff Reporter
Public may comment
DEP's Integrated Waters Report is subject to a 45-day comment
period. The Environmental Protection Agency must approve the final
The public comment period will begin on Saturday and continue
until June 10. Written comments should be submitted to Molly
Pulket, Division of Water Quality Standards, Bureau of Point and
Non-Point Source Management, P. O. Box 8774, Harrisburg, PA
17105-8774, or by email to RA-WQAssessments@pa.gov. Faxes will not
For more information or to view the report, visit http://www.dep.state.pa.us
and search by keyword: Water Quality.
The state Department of Environmental Protection says the
Monongahela River's sulfate contamination dropped enough to
recommend removing it from its “impaired” list.
Sulfate levels in the Mon meet Pennsylvania water quality
standards — below 250mg per liter — because companies are treating
acid mine drainage, the main source of the contaminant, DEP
spokeswoman Amanda Witman said on Friday.
“Companies are doing a better job of addressing the issue,” Witman
said. “They are treating their acid mine drainage and enhancing
their water management.”
The recommendation is listed in the DEP's Integrated Waters Report
released on Friday. Issued every two years, it's a report card on
the state's rivers and streams.
Two other impairment classifications remain in effect on the Mon,
Witman said. In 2004, the DEP limited carp consumption to one meal
a month along the Pennsylvania stretch of the Mon from the mouth
of the Ohio River to the West Virginia line, because of PCB
contamination. Several other fish, including channel catfish,
white bass, sauger and walleyes, are targeted for limited
consumption in the Braddock area.
In 2002, the DEP declared drinking water impaired because of
pathogens, including bacteria, resulting from sewage runoff
between the Ohio River and the confluence of Turtle Creek near
The DEP in 2010 declared Mon River drinking water impaired because
of sulfate. There haven't been reports of levels above the state
standard in a couple of years, Witman said, and just a few reports
of higher levels after the designation.
Much of the sulfate contamination is from upstream sources, Witman
said, though she did not identify locations. The river, about 130
miles long, originates in Fairmont, W.Va.
More than a dozen water companies draw water from the Mon and
filter the sulfates, Witman said.
Pennsylvania American Water considers DEP's announcement “a great
vindication of the efforts by regulators and watershed
stakeholders to improve conditions along the Monongahela River,”
said company spokesman Gary Lobaugh. The river supplies water for
210,000 customers in Allegheny and Washington counties, he said.
The decision “may enable Pennsylvania American Water to reduce
chemicals used throughout our treatment process,” Lobaugh said.
Myron Arnowitt, Pennsylvania director for Clean Water Action, said
more work needs to be done to protect the river, including aquatic
“The designation triggers the DEP to take steps to reduce
discharge and clean up the waterway,” Arnowitt said. “It's a
concern if you lift the designation.”
Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be
reached at 412-380-5621 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/6009029-74/dep-quality-report#ixzz2zyhz641g