February 20, 2013 |
Thirty years after the New Jersey Legislature created an independent body to determine limits on pollutants in tap water, there is growing concern about its future. The Drinking Water Quality Institute - whose schedule is determined by the state Department of Environmental Protection - has not met in more than two years following a fight over tightening limits on industrial chemicals. And legislation has been introduced that would add representatives of industrial and chemical companies to the board and press the institute to consider industry-funded research in its decision making.
February 1, 2013 |
CAPE MAY - When the agenda was planned for the 2013 Delaware Estuary Science and Environmental Summit - a biannual gathering of scientists, academics, and government officials - Sandy hadn't devastated the New Jersey Shore. But the storm that struck Oct. 29 was at the forefront of conversations and some workshop discussions during the four-day conference, titled "Weathering Change - Shifting Environments, Shifting Policies, Shifting Needs. " "So much has happened within the environment since our last summit in 2011, coming in on the heels of what perhaps is the worst natural disaster in the mid-Atlantic in modern times," said Jennifer Adkins, executive director of the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, which has hosted the event every two years since 2005.
January 4, 2013 |
Stand by for increased shelling at a Monmouth County, N.J., naval base. State environmental officials are allowing an experimental oyster colony at a Navy pier in Middletown to expand. The goal of researchers from Rutgers University and the New York/New Jersey Baykeeper is to reestablish the once-plentiful shellfish in the Raritan Bay to help improve its water quality. The state Department of Environmental Protection allowed the groups to use nearly 11 acres off the Earle Naval Weapons Station to grow oysters and expand its research reef.
November 1, 2012
VOTERS will find four referendum questions on Tuesday's ballot. Here are the questions and our recommendations for how to vote: * 1. Shall the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter be amended to allow for the establishment of an independent rate-making body for fixing and regulating water and sewer rates and charges ? Vote: No. Reason: Right now, the water commissioner has the power to establish water and sewer rates. While that suggests that the public or elected officials have no say in the processs, that's not entirely true: The City Council president, the mayor, and the controller appoint a hearing officer and a public advocate to review rate requests in a process that takes at least a year.
October 25, 2012 |
By Jim Kenney With all Philadelphia's waterways officially classified as impaired, we need to use every tool we have to protect our drinking water and clean up our rivers and streams. One such tool is a development buffer around the city's waterways. A buffer of at least 50 feet is important to prevent flooding, filter pollution, and manage storm runoff. Why am I writing about this today? Because it's within City Council's power to protect our waterways with a 50-foot buffer, but some in our ranks may be trying to whittle a proposed buffer down to 25 feet.
October 12, 2012 |
THAT PLASTIC container you see floating in the Schuylkill? It will probably float away from Philly, but it's hardly gone forever. Along with other junk tossed into local waterways, it ends up in the ocean, where it breaks down into a soupy mush. Remember that next you have a hankering for sushi. Need a visual on this? The 5 Gyres Institute, a California nonprofit, is teaming up with United by Blue, a Philadelphia apparel company that is dedicated to cleaning up waterways around the country, to show people the effects of pollution during a presentation here Monday.
August 24, 2012 |
Murky storm-water ponds, ugly waste-water lagoons and threatened wetlands may soon find a friend that helps them look and feel better. The tonic appears in the form of small floating islands filled with beneficial plants that help improve water quality, curtail erosion, and benefit wildlife. In southeastern Virginia, these grant-funded islands have been planted and are being studied and evaluated at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia Institute of Marine Science at Gloucester Point, Virginia Zoo in Norfolk and Elizabeth River sites.
August 5, 2012 |
PITTSBURGH - Is natural-gas drilling ruining the air, polluting water, and making people sick? The evidence is inconclusive, but a lack of serious funding is delaying efforts to resolve those questions and creating a vacuum that could lead to a crush of lawsuits, some experts say. A House committee in June turned down an Obama administration request to fund $4.25 million in research on how drilling may affect water quality. In the spring, Pennsylvania stripped $2 million of funding that called for a state health registry to track respiratory problems, skin conditions, stomach ailments, and other illnesses potentially related to gas drilling.
August 3, 2012
Is the world falling apart? On Wednesday, one day after 670 million people in India —about 10 percent of the world's population — lost electrical power, residents of North Philly coped with the third water-main break in the city in 10 days. Philadelphians and New Delhians are sharing more than a miserable summer (though, actually, it's the rainy season in India); they are forced to cope with a history of inattention to infrastructure that suggests that there is no end in sight for such disasters.
July 17, 2012 |
LAST WEEK, DUKE University released a study on water quality in the Marcellus Shale region. Many Pennsylvanians concerned about the state's new industry of gas drilling will be interested in the findings of this study. Here's a sampling of headlines from the media coverage: Marcellus Shale study claims gas drilling did not contaminate drinking-water wells; New research shows no Marcellus Shale pollution; Pennsylvania fracking can put water at risk, Duke study finds; Yet another study confirms fracking can pollute groundwater; New study: Fluids from Marcellus Shale likely seeping into Pa. drinking water; Findings are mixed in fracking-water study.