Poisoning Pennsylvania’s Breadbasket

Just Add Sunshine…

If a stream dies, does anybody hear? Life in Boiling Spring Run in Central, PA ceased decades ago, yet while local residents have been reporting illegal dumping for years, the PA DEP has ignored the problem. Until 2009, that is, when DEP took samples, then declared the test results “Confidential.”

Particularly worrisome is the fact this little known stream is in the heart of Pennsylvania’s agricultural region. Much of our “farm-fresh” produce and dairy originates here. It’s also smack dab in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed region, so it impacts bay-life and sea-life, too. If you truly want to “eat fresh and buy local” this is one region you don’t want to pollute. Anyway, why would the DEP keep the results confidential?

Barbara Long has long been complaining about Boiling Spring Run, her stream. She regularly updates the BedfordCountyFreePress.com on the non-evolving story:

I grew up beside this stream. I played in this stream as a child. I fished in this stream and ate the fish I caught when I got older. I became concerned with the quality of the water when I noticed the fish started to disappear and any wildlife associated with the stream.

I noticed what I thought was sewage along the banks of the stream. I reported this to DEP in the 70’s. As far as I am aware no action was taken.

A few years went by and I reported the issue again in the 80’s. The condition of the stream steadily worsened.

I made another report in the 90’s. Once again the condition of the stream was worsening.

I made a report in 2009 to DEP. Heather Agosta of the Altoona office of DEP came and took water samples. Her investigation showed that the stream was void of life. She said she would be in touch with me in seven days to give me a detailed report. She called me within the seven day period and said the results of the test would not be revealed to me. I asked her for a copy of the results and she refused stating the report was confidential and the case was closed.

I decided to go public with this issue because it appears I am getting no results from any government agency. I would like to see the results of this test due to medical concerns I have been experiencing. I am also concerned for my children and the other families that this may affect.

From Agricultural To Industrial…

According to Bedford County, PA’s sociodemographic reporting, posted on bedfordcountypa.org: “Future growth in the County will require additional water supply from sources that are dependent upon precipitation to infiltrate and recharge the aquifers. Maintaining groundwater recharge and well head protection areas will be critical to protecting groundwater supply and quality for the future of the County.”

Given that the stream has been used to dispose raw sewage for decades, it’s truly curious why – literally – no one seems to give a shit. But given that the county itself has reported on the importance of their dwindling fresh water resources, one would think they’d take more interest in what fresh water sources they do have.

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