There’s troubling news from Newport, Pennsylvania, a borough outside of Harrisburg, the state capital. The water and sewer authorities have been cited for violations by the Department of Environmental Protection. The violations are made worse because the water treatment plant was in trouble already. The quality of the drinking water in the borough dipped on at least six days between October of 2013 and March of 2014. The DEP and the Newport Borough Water Authority have announced an agreement for “corrective action” to be undertaken by Newport.

This most recent issue stems from a sewer overflow that occurred for nearly a month, between the dates of November 13 and December 12. In those weeks almost 20 million gallons of sewage was pumped into the Juniata River. However, DEP Spokeswoman Amanda Whitman says that the “issue is resolved” and “the department is keeping a watchful eye.” For a silver lining, it’s worth noting that, as of right now, there have been no reports of illness in the area.

Environmental Issues are Everyone’s Concern

It’s troubling to see Newport have these issues with their water. Environmental issues are easier to spot than ever before, and they are easier to contain as well. Unfortunately, sometimes things go wrong and, even if the city is quick to correct the error, they can be slapped with a fine. In the case of Newport, that fine came to $136,500. No one wants to pour salt in the wound, but the question remains: if a city fails in their environmental responsibilities, should it be held responsible to foot the bill for the cleanup?

There’s no clear-cut answer to a situation such as this. While it’s hard to argue against maintaining responsible actions toward the environment and local residents, is a fine the proper response? Or is it sufficient to keep an eye on the city and its Municipal Authority? This is certainly a complicated issue. If anything else develops on the story, we’ll make sure to post another entry about it on The Fill. These are conversations worth having, especially when it comes to issues involving drinking water and proper waste removal.


Source: ABC 27

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons