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Our Water Quality
Zelienople has good water quality except when we must draw from our secondary water source, the Connoquenessing Creek. (See Our Water Supply) The Connoquenessing has been identified by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as being the "second most polluted body of water in the United States" due to high levels of nitrate. The primary source attributed to the discharge of this contaminant has been identified as AK Steel in Butler. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the agency responsible for enforcing the Safe Drinking Water Act and Clean Streams Law, has been studying this situation for many years and continues to do so today. Nitrates are not known to be cancer causing, but may be harmful to new-born babies and pregnant women. Consequently, in 1998 and 1999, the Borough provided bottled water, at no charge, to affected residents whenever the nitrate levels were high as a result of drawing water from the Connoquenessing Creek.
The Borough believes that our residents are entitled to safe drinking water at the tap and it strives daily to accomplish that goal. The Borough has been actively involved in the permitting process to limit the quantity of nitrates AK Steel is permitted to discharge to the Connoquenessing Creek (click here to review a chronology of our efforts to ensure water quality).
The Borough is extremely sensitive to the quality of our drinking water. Although the State only requires testing annually for nitrates, the Borough aggressively tests water in the Connoquenessing Creek, water in the raw water reservoirs and the finished drinking water for nitrates on a daily basis. Click here for a chart showing nitrate levels in Zelienople drinking water.
Zelienople has been proactive in its environmental efforts in order to make more public and elevate the water problems of small towns to higher levels of government. The Borough is a member of the Connoquenessing Watershed Alliance and supports the efforts of Clean Water Action. The Borough continues to assess alternate water sources and potential interconnections with our municipal neighbors.
A thought to consider: The ultimate success in getting clean water is dependent on the public sensitivity and involvement of our citizens. Are we truly sensitive to pollution issues? Are we truly involved in the public governmental process?
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