Resolve to reduce polluted runoff in the new year

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — If you’re already searching for a New Year’s resolution, The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) suggests you ‘go green.’

The foundation, which has an office in Harrisburg, has issued a list of ways people can combat the high amounts of polluted runoff that enters waterways like the Susquehanna River.

The list includes planting a tree or rain garden on your property, installing rain barrels to collect water running off your roof, getting a soil test so you don’t add unnecessary chemicals to your lawn, and cutting grass to a height of at 2-3 inches to promote a strong root system which can retain more water.

Earlier this year, CBF declared five Midstate counties the worst offenders when it came to polluted agricultural runoff entering the water. As a result, the foundation has been lobbying for state and federal funding to help saturate the most problematic region with corrective projects. Excess runoff of chemicals like nitrogen and phosphorous from farm fields into streams, lakes and rivers can lead to dead zones deprived of oxygen, which can harm aquatic life and plant life.

Earlier this month, Capital Region Water, which provides drinking water to the City of Harrisburg, unveiled its own initiative to reduce the amount of runoff entering the Susquehanna River. For years, the utility’s aging underground infrastructure of combined storm drain and sewer pipes have become backed up during heavy rains, allowing untreated waste to spill into the river.

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