Local clean water advocates are gearing up for Water Week, the county’s annual celebration of efforts to protect and restore Lancaster County waterways.
Organized by the Lancaster Conservancy, Water Week 2023 will launch in downtown Lancaster on First Friday, June 2, with live music and poetry, a native tree giveaway, and art in Penn Square and the Lancaster City Welcome Center, conservancy spokeswoman Avery van Etten said.
Events continue through Saturday, June 10. For a full schedule and signups click here.
Some events have fees, others are free. Among the highlights:
- Recreation: Options include Conestoga River kayak tours, a Rockin’ on the River tour on the lower Susquehanna and a Midnight Float.
- Water Film Night: The New Main Theatre in Ephrata will show the documentary “Hidden Rivers” at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 6, followed by a panel discussion.
- Cleanups: Volunteers can take part in buffer maintenance at Overlook Park, a multi-location community cleanup; and a float-and-cleanup event at Sickman’s Mill.
More than half of Lancaster County’s 1,400 miles of streams are considered “impaired,” suffering the effects of pollution. Contamination can be agricultural — runoff such as sediment, phosphorus and nitrogen; or urban — stemming from industrial sources or from sewer systems, like Lancaster city’s, that don’t separate sewage from stormwater and are susceptible to discharging untreated sewage into waterways when their treatment capacity is overwhelmed by heavy stormwater runoff.
Cleanup efforts are ongoing and have received substantial investment, including county American Rescue Plan Act funding. The county is part of Chesapeake Bay watershed, and Pennsylvania is relying on it to make substantial pollution reductions as part of an ambitious multi-state plan to restore the bay to health.