Plug for my alma mater today: Dickinson College chemistry professor Amy Witter and her associates found a new source of pollution in the South-Central PA stream Conodoguinet Creek, a tributary of the Susquehanna River. The Susquehanna is a major tributary of the Chesapeake Bay, and provides over half of the Bay’s freshwater. Pollution that enters the Susquehanna eventually finds its way to the Bay.
Witter’s research found that the coal-tar-based sealcoat commonly used in residential driveways is having an impact on stream health in South-Central PA. This type of sealcoat is found throughout the East Coast and could be having impacts on other streams in the watershed. The good news is that this sealcoat is already banned in Washington D.C. as well as several other townships in the region.
For those with journal access, the article was published in Environmental Pollution, Volume 185, pages 59-68. A summary of the findings can be found here: http://www.dickinson.edu/news-and-events/news/2013-14/Toxic-Driveways/.
An interesting source to track restoration efforts in the Bay through a variety of criteria, including runoff and sediment loads: http://www.chesapeakebay.net/trackprogress
And background information from the USGS on how urban runoff affects the Bay, and how it can be managed: http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2008/3101/HoganFS_Final_01-23-09.pdf