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Fish restriction for Susquehanna River in place after test results

Written by Ben Allen and Radio Pennsylvania | Jul 8, 2014 4:41 AM
Susquehanna River

(Harrisburg) -- A recent study by the state shows some chemical levels in the Susquehanna River are acceptable, but the results won’t stop planned changes though.

Dissolved oxygen levels and the water's PH is satisfactory, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection.

But, spokeswoman Amanda Witman says the lower main stem of the Susquehanna is facing more restrictions.

"We have found that based on some of our fish tissue that we've collected, there will be new impairment for fish consumption for channel catfish larger than 20 inches due to PCBs that were found in that fish tissue," she says.

The Juniata River feeds the Susquehanna, and tested higher for pollutants like nitrogen and nitrate, often used on farms.

"Those types of pollutants are actually nutrients that are a product of agricultural operations. That's why we see things like phosphorous and nitrogen in waters like the Juniata," says Witman.

The DEP and the Fish and Boat Commission have feuded in the past about whether the Susquehanna is an impaired waterway.

Currently, at the top of the Susquehanna River page on its website, the commission writes the river is sick and needs help.

DEP has said it won't change designations until it has solid science to back up its decision.

Witman says the agency is planning to do more studies in the future.

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