HARRISBURG. Pa (WHTM) — From Harrisburg, Pennsylvania it’s difficult to watch what’s happening in Flint, Michigan.
While residents of Flint deal with exposure to possible lead poisoning from its tainted city water source, Harrisburg relishes in award-winning tap water from the pristine, spring fed Dehart Dam.
“The information coming out of Flint is very troubling to me,” says Shannon Williams, CEO of Capital Region Water. “As someone that takes a lot of pride in the way that we provide safe drinking water to protect public health.”
But as Flint deals with what’s coming out of the taps, Harrisburg is dealing with what’s going down the drain. Capital Region Water is under federal mandate to reduce the amount of storm water runoff, which in recent years, has overwhelmed the pipes leading to its treatment facility. The same pipes carry sewer waste into the plant, and any backups of the combined sources can result in untreated water draining directly into the Susquehanna River.
At an event at the Camp Curtin YMCA on Thursday, Williams hoped to start the discussion with city residents about ways to reduce the storm water issue. The plan, called City Beautiful H2O, is a “community greening” plan that looks for solutions on both the neighborhood and municipal levels. Williams says the city has historically rallied around ideas aimed at improving its water quality and the health of the river.
“More than 100 years ago, our community came together and said, we have sewage going directly to the river. We don’t like that,” adds Williams. “Let’s come together as a community and invest in the system. Its time to do that again.”