On this Earth Day, 18 Pennsylvania State Senators, Republican and Democrat, introduced a bill to protect rivers and aquifers that are used as public drinking water sources. The main sponsor, Republican Senator Charles McIlhinney of Bucks County, said there's no more precious resource than clean drinking water and "it is imperative that we take action to protect our drinking water supplies from pollution." The legislation would amend the state's Safe Drinking Water Act and establish "critical zones" upstream of drinking water intakes along rivers and around public drinking water wells, and restrict polluting activities in those zones. Myron Arnowitt, state director of Clean Water Action, says the zones would be about 25 miles upstream of the intake, the distance water travels in about 5 hours....."the basic idea is if you are going to site a gas station somewhere, maybe you shouldn't put it next to your public drinking water well. I think that's common sense for people but there aren't any state rules that say you can't do that, and we do that all the time."
Arnowitt says this legislation not only will protect the public's health but makes good economic sense because E.P.A. studies have found that for every dollar spent on preventing source water contamination, up to $27 are saved in treatment costs.