Clean wa­ter helps cre­ate healthy com­mu­ni­ties

The Review - - NEWS - By Gail Farmer Gail Farmer is the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Wis­sahickon Val­ley Wa­ter­shed As­so­ci­a­tion.

Clean wa­ter mat­ters to ev­ery­one, and the Wis­sahickon Creek is where that all starts — close to home.

It’s a place fam­i­lies go to en­joy the great out­doors, and it also sup­plies wa­ter to thou­sands down­stream. Our com­mu­ni­ties’ health de­pends di­rectly on how clean the Wis­sahickon flows.

So how do we en­sure that the creek gets cleaner, our com­mu­ni­ties get greener and our fam­i­lies stay healthy? Car­ing for our creeks means mak­ing a few small changes at home and to­gether, as a com­mu­nity, sup­port­ing lo­cal gov­ern­ments’ changes on a larger scale.

At home, there are three sim­ple things we can all do that make a huge dif­fer­ence:

• Use fewer fer­til­iz­ers, pes­ti­cides and her­bi­cides in our yards;

• Re­tain the rain by in­stalling a beau­ti­ful, hard­work­ing rain gar­den, rain bar­rel or pavers that al­low wa­ter to soak in in­stead of run off;

• Pick up af­ter our dogs so their waste doesn’t pol­lute the creek.

And as a com­mu­nity, it’s all about work­ing to­gether. From vot­ing for pro-clean wa­ter can­di­dates to be­com­ing a Wis­sahickon Val­ley Wa­ter­shed As­so­ci­a­tion creek watcher, res­i­dents can be a part of all the work go­ing on to im­prove the creek.

But it goes be­yond that to the town­ship level — many mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties are work­ing to­gether in the newly formed Wis­sahickon Clean Wa­ter Part­ner­ship. And they need to know that our com­mu­ni­ties both sup­port their work and are watch­ing for strong re­sults.

This part­ner­ship is com­posed of 13 mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, in­clud­ing Philadel­phia, and four waste­water treat­ment plants, which have been work­ing on a plan for the past two years to col­lec­tively “Own the So­lu­tion” for a cleaner Wis­sahickon Creek. We are con­fi­dent that the part­ner­ship can pri­or­i­tize green so­lu­tions that will en­sure cleaner wa­ter and keep costs down. What’s re­mark­able about the part­ner­ship is its holis­tic and col­lab­o­ra­tive ap­proach/vi­sion.

The plan cre­ated by the part­ner­ship will ad­dress some of the more de­mand­ing state and fed­eral reg­u­la­tions that are so im­por­tant for im­prov­ing wa­ter qual­ity and will also en­sure that lo­cal in­ter­ests are em­pha­sized and that no mu­nic­i­pal­ity is alone in com­bat­ing pol­lu­tion. To­gether, and with innovation, we are far stronger and more likely to de­velop and im­ple­ment a plan that works.

Now that the part­ner­ship is re­ally gain­ing ground, there are more op­por­tu­ni­ties for res­i­dents to get in­volved. You can visit wvwa. org for more in­for­ma­tion.

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