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Thursday, July 30, 2015

SRBC Approves 71 Withdrawals @ 280+ MILLION Gallons

I don't have time this morning to run a second tape to verify I added up the 71 approved withdrawals correctly, but the first tally came up at 289.6 MILLION gallons...the vast majority being approved for consumptive use by the natural gas industry.
Consumptive use means it won't be returned to the watershed. Or so they claim.
Read the details for yourself here.

What does 289.6 MILLION gallons of water look like?
Try over 438 Olympic size swimming pools filled with water.
The Susquehanna River Basin Commission is playing an integral role in the slow but certain death of the Susquehanna River and it's impact on the Chesapeake Bay. 
And many of our so-called river watchers are standing by and doing nothing.
Here's another article of interest from this morning's news.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Caught this article in the news yesterday about contaminants in our freshwater fish including a quote from Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper Mike Helfrich. 
With the exception of a few walleyes caught over 30 years ago while fishing with a friend near Tunkhannock, I've not consumed any fish from the Susquehanna, primarily because I'm a catch & release guy at heart.
Perhaps the PFBC and/or local officials should consider signage in multiple languages at high-traffic access sites along our major rivers, or possibly handing out brightly-colored cards with every fishing license sold. If people are taking the fish they catch home...chances are they are eating them.


Friday, July 24, 2015

Susquehanna to be Digitally Mapped

Having news alerts delivered to my Inbox about topics that interest me saves a lot of time in the morning.
Here's a quote from one I received a day or two ago about the Susquehanna.
“With the Susquehanna having been named America’s Most Endangered River by American Rivers (a national nonprofit conservation organization) twice within the last decade, we realized that we could use technology to make it easier for people to connect with the river,” he said. If that happens, “they will be more likely to become stewards of the Susquehanna.”
Read the rest here.

I'm glad to know my efforts are still generating ripples.
Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Scranton Sewer Authority: $9M for Exactly What?

I received a Google alert yesterday with a link to this article.
This section caught my attention:
"The combined system, when overwhelmed by stormwater, has at times over the years polluted the Lackawanna River and its tributaries. To reduce combined overflows, numerous underground storage tanks will be installed to capture stormwater overflow and gradually release it after storms are over."
As written, it is unclear to me whether the storage tanks will release the stormwater overflow into the Lackawanna or the treatment plant.
If the former...why bother? If the latter...it's a good start.
In a significant rain event, which seem to be occurring more frequently, I'm thinking the capacity of these storage tanks is another concern that needs to be addressed. When they are filled, where will the combination of raw sewage and stormwater go? 
And in my mind, there is a difference between a storage tank and a detention basin. What amount of rain over the 10,000 acre service area would it take to fill the 1.2 million gallon detention basin mentioned in the article?  Show me those calculations. I could probably come up with some numbers fairly easily, but do not have the time this morning.

On second thought...did a quick Google search and here we go:

As I suspected, a 1.2 million gallon detention basin falls incredibly short for even one inch of rain.

Seriously...where do they get these number crunchers?
Another thought: if the detention basin is on the surface, who lives downwind of that site?
I think I'm going to look into this a little further this weekend.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Hotter than...

...ever before. In recorded history, that is.
Read the details here.
So...if you do not believe in global warming or the more PC "climate change", ignore the facts set forth in the article you hopefully just read and go on your merry way. 
The earth's population has more than doubled in the last 50 years, and there appears to be no end in sight. The "canaries in the coal mine" are popping up all over the place, and the ever-present naysayers continue to respond by belching some unintelligible gibberish and do everything they can to obfuscate the truth when faced with the irrefutable fact that our planet is getting warmer.

And more polluted.

And we 7.2 billion+ inhabitants of this planet are unquestionably the biggest contributor.
In the air we breath, in the water we drink, and in the food we eat...there are substances we put there that just don't belong, and they are slowly taking their toll on all life on this planet.  
We are the seeds of our own demise, yet most just look away.  
I'll close this rant with a pic I still think about daily...
Earth from Saturn  
And two more I just received from some friends who live along
the Susquehanna River in Bradford County.
 Photos courtesy of DK Natt
“What's the use of a fine house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on?”
   ― Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

PA Pipeline Task Farce

The members of Governor Tom Wolf's Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force Farce are listed here.
From my decades as an environmentalist, I know many of the folks on the list, including several members of the Environmental Protection workgroup.  One of the individuals listed in the workgroup below was an ardent supporter of a plan to dam the Susquehanna River which fizzled out in 2008.
Imagine that; with all we know about the negative effects dams have on free-flowing rivers, an "educated" individual who blindly supported doing just that - damming a river - was selected to participate in a pipeline infrastructure workgroup tasked with...environmental protection.

To be fair, I'm sure many of the individuals appointed to this Task Force are deserving of being selected and will do their best. Many others are not and will drag the good folks down. 
I can't wait for the first public meeting...if they ever have one. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Boaters: Wear your PFDs!

After all the deaths due to drowning earlier this year on the Susquehanna, it was a welcome relief to read about the outcome of this boating accident last week.

SUSQUEHANNA TWP., Dauphin County, Pa. — Rescuers pulled a pair of kayakers off the rocks they were stranded on this morning in the Susquehanna River. The kayakers, a father and son,  managed to get on the rocks a few hundred yards north of the Rockville Bridge after they flipped their kayak. They apparently had trouble negotiating the rapids between Fort Hunter and the bridge, according to rescue personnel. Both were wearing life preservers and avoided injury.

Over the years, I've gone for several unanticipated swims while kayaking and wading along the shoreline. Most events were in rapids, and I was wearing a PFD every time. I hope you never find yourself in a similar situation, but if you do, I truly hope you and your fellow water enthusiasts are wearing a PFD.

Have a great week, folks.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Rain Cometh...

As I offered in a previously posted header, I've noticed a significant uptick in the # of visitors to this blog and, as of late, a greater percentage coming from Europe and many other points on the globe.

Welcome / Bienvenu / добро пожаловать / 欢迎
 With almost 1,100 posts on this site alone, and another 3,000+ on an ISP that shut down almost 5 years ago, I've probably repeated myself many times over the past 15+ years of blogging.
Yesterday, I noticed several visits to this post from 2012, and would ask that all who visit check it out for a minute or two. I'm not sure if all the links still work, and although written over 2 years ago, I clearly recall taking my time ensuring my accelerated 24 hour clock of the Susquehanna's existence was accurate.
My next few posts will be dealing with water, my recollection of my earliest days fishing, and what I believe lies ahead for me...and my river.
Just hear my first rumble of thunder a few seconds ago.
Time to get the rain barrels ready.
Above: So what have we accomplished in 11 years?
Above: From a very soggy Riverfest 2009
Above: An old brick-lined sewer outfall near Wilkes-Barre
Above: At the end of a ~200 mile paddle in 2004 near Sunbury PA.
Above: Evidence of 2004 flooding found on an island. Any visible trace of this trailer has long since been washed away or covered by debris.
Above: The photos above are of two young girls playing in river water on a day when multiple CSOs upstream were spewing raw sewage into the Susquehanna. The wall in both pics has narrow gaps to allow water in and out when the river gets this high. When I told the parents they should get their daughters out of the water - and why - I was met with a lukewarm "Really?..."
When I got home later that night, I posted about what I saw and several pics  similar to those above.
The next day, that area was completely roped off with warning banners.
The results from water samples taken from this spot that evening were never made public.
Go figure.  

Friday, July 17, 2015

Who'll Stop the Rain?

Rainwater, as storm water runoff, reaches our streams and rivers one heckuva lot faster than it did, say, 200 years ago.
On my little piece of dirt, I do my best to slow down that process...just a little.
More over the next few days.
Happy Friday.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Fracking Study & Health Problems

Passing this article along as an FYI.

It's only one study, and it's sure to be attacked by the natural gas folks.

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A recent article ( 7/13/15 ) in the Daily Item about the Susquehanna caught my attention, and I was pleasantly surprised to find it was written by an occasional commenter to this blog, Dr. Bill Yingling.
Since my multiple attempts to logon to that site were met with a significant number of pop-ups, I'll offer the text of Bill's letter here:

"In a recent editorial titled the “Cruel irony of natural springs,” those springs located in the Susquehanna watershed, the writer stated that “following the extensive — and expensive — filtering process, the water pouring from our taps is safe to drink.” At the conclusion of the article he further writes, “It is important to remember, however, that danger lurks where we may not expect it.” How true!
This is clearly the case with all those people drinking water from the Susquehanna watershed. The United States Geologic Service (USGS) has demonstrated more than 30 organic chemicals in the organs of smallmouth bass in the Susquehanna watershed. These bass are experiencing reproductive abnormalities, immune system impairment and cancer.

If the chemicals are in the bass they are in the water that is withdrawn for drinking purposes.
In a study, spanning 3 years, done by the USGS and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, both pharmaceutical chemicals and organic chemicals known as endocrine disruptors (called chemicals of emerging concern) were found in stream water from the Susquehanna watershed. One of the main sources of these chemicals was from inadequate treatment of sewage. It is obvious that sewage treatment does not remove pharmaceuticals and dissolved organic chemicals from water; unfortunately neither does mechanical or membrane filtration process used by most water supply companies unless some type of carbon filtration is used. So, the chemicals that those smallmouth bass have in their organs and which are causing their problems are very likely in water supplied for drinking from the Susquehanna watershed.

Fortunately we have virtually eliminated water-borne diseases like cholera, typhoid, dysentery and smallpox from our water supplies. That is good. But what has taken their place? Realize that in 1915 the incidence of childhood cancer was small (adult cancer was much less too). Today, depending on age, cancer is the No. 1 disease of children and the number two disease in adults. Cancer is a disease of the immune system. Other human diseases associated with the immune system like rheumatoid, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, various types of colitis and thyroiditis were not near as common either. Research is pointing more and more to the damaging effect that organic chemical pollutants in our environment have on the immune system and the DNA of living organisms.
Environmental contamination can be in found in the food we eat and the air we breathe. But we are told that our water is safe to drink. Is it really?

We are told that the levels of pharmaceuticals and organic chemicals in the water are too low to affect humans. They certainly are affecting the smallmouth bass in the Susquehanna River. The problem is that “safe levels” of these chemicals in water for humans are based on the “Maximum Concentration Levels” and these chemicals never reach that maximal level, most are not even monitored. But what about the long-term ingestion (say over 20-30 years) of low level contaminants or the additive affect that ingesting numerous low level chemicals have on our cells?
Is our drinking water safe? Well, kind of. But if you live in a community that draws its main water supply from surface water from the Susquehanna watershed, I would ask to see proof that the techniques used to prepare the water for drinking remove all volatile and non-volatile organic chemicals from the water. Wouldn’t it be a cruel irony, or perhaps a cruel deception, if we came to understand that the water we think is safe may be helping to make us sick? "

William L. Yingling, M.D., Freeburg
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Bill is an avid fisherman who obviously cares about the health of the Susquehanna.
Excellent letter...and thanks, Bill.