Berks County Develops Source Water Protection Program

Submitted by Kent Himelright, Watershed Coordinator, Berks County Conservation District

In 2016, the Berks County Water & Sewer Association and the Berks County Planning Commission were interested in developing a county-wide program to combine source water protection and stormwater management activities. By working with a number of local water systems, they helped develop a program that would implement management strategies that crossed both watershed and municipality boundaries.

Community water systems use a variety of surface waterways and groundwater wells and springs to provide safe, clean, drinking water to about 70% of Berks County residents. To help protect the drinking water, water systems representatives and volunteers from other local agencies, organizations, and businesses, worked with the Department of Environmental Protection and other partners to develop a source water protection program. This voluntary program will help ensure the quality of the watershed, and will benefit not only the people served by these systems, but also the people living and working in the county. Some management strategies include public education, partnering with the Berks County Department of Emergency Services, and working with local businesses to reduce pollutants entering the watershed.

Along with source water protection, the program will assist participants with some stormwater management solutions required by Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) requirements. Staff from the Berks County Conservation District will provide ongoing leadership for the program, which will be funded through donations and fundraisers from the Berks County Water and Sewer Association.

For more information, please contact Kent Himelright at Kent.Himelright@berkscd.com.

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