Local Waterways — Including Bucks County’s — Are Unhealthy for Fishing, Drinking, and Recreating

storm drain
Image via Finn Terman Frederiksen at Creative Commons.
Polluted water has compromised many Delaware Valley waterways; Bucks County's proximity to the Delaware River makes it a major concern.

According to a new report by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection, Bucks County waterways — along with the majority of those in Southeastern Pennsylvania — are filthy. Frank Kummer waded through the particulars for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Overall, 2,398 more miles of the state’s streams have been designated as impaired over the past two years, bringing the total to 27,886 miles.

These include segments of the Delaware River, whose banks support some of Bucks County’s toniest homes, and the Schuylkill.

Bucks County ranked seventh in the region among the counties with the highest percentage of streams impaired for aquatic life, recreation, fish consumption, or drinking. From the 1,095 miles assessed, 799 have been labeled “impaired.”

That’s 69 percent.

The main causes for stream impairment in the region include agricultural, storm-water 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 on the condition of Bucks County waterways in The Philadelphia Inquirer.