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Study shows more Chesapeake pollution from midstate sewage plants

Written by Craig Layne and Radio Pennsylvania | Dec 14, 2012 5:09 AM
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(Washington) -- A new study on pollution in the Chesapeake Bay finds sewage plants in two midstate communities are adding more of a key pollutant to the bay this year than in 2011.

The report is from the Environmental Integrity Project.

It shows the Harrisburg Advanced Wastewater Treatment Facility and the Lancaster City Wastewater Treatment Plant each contributed more than 120,000 pounds of nitrogen above the amount they emitted last year.

Tarah Heinzen, an attorney with the group, says the report is focused on only one sector of pollution.

"EIP only looked at industrial and municipal dischargers, so this analysis does not address gains that the states may have made in reducing factory farm discharges or discharges from farmland," Heinzen says.

Heinzen says the organization is recommending better reporting of what comes out of industrial and municipal water treatment plants.

Nitrogen causes problems for the Chesapeake by promoting the growth of algae, which robs the bay of oxygen needed to sustain aquatic life.

Sewage systems and industrial plants contribute one fifth of nitrogen pollution to the bay, which is fed by the Susquehanna River -- its largest tributary.

Published in Harrisburg, Lancaster, News

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