Clean Water

Blessed with an abundance of water resources, Pennsylvania hosts some of the country’s most diverse, rare and beautiful aquatic ecosystems. PennFuture advocates protections for the Commonwealth’s impaired and threatened waterways.

The Commonwealth features many of the country’s most economically and ecologically important surface waters. Our rivers and streams provide clean drinking water, outstanding recreational opportunities and the lifeblood for economic growth in many regions. 

Yet one third of our streams and rivers suffer from impaired water quality, an increase of more than 5,500 miles since previously studied.

Our waters continue to be polluted by point source discharges such as from industrial facilities and nonpoint source discharges (like stormwater runoff) that dump sediment, nutrients and trash into our waters. 

PennFuture works to uphold goals of the federal Clean Water Act and our state Clean Streams Law. Every navigable surface water should be fishable and swimmable — including those passing through regions populated by low-income and marginalized communities. 

Unfortunately, for many Pennsylvanians, water pollution has made it dangerous for them to swim in nearby rivers and lakes and for them to eat their day’s catch. Pollution continues to prevent our waterways from sustaining the uses for which they are protected.

PennFuture defends clean waterways and advances restoration efforts on multiple fronts:

  • We bring legal action against polluters, successfully achieving compliance with water permits.
  • We hold regulators accountable for obligations to protect and to help clean up local lakes, streams and rivers. 
  • We advocate for stringent, scientifically based standards and solutions that remove pollutants and improve water quality, both locally and downstream.
  • We raise awareness of clean water solutions among communities most impacted by environmental degradation and among those leading the waves of change. 
  • We lead strong coalitions, advocating for clean water funding and improvements to water quality protection programs, safeguarding special protection waters, and promoting green infrastructure as a stormwater-management solution.

Join the PennFuture Email ListReceive Clean Water Alerts