The Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association (LSRA) was formed to create a network of support and partners for the work of the Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper (LSR). Ted Evgeniadis, Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper, is licensed by Waterkeeper Alliance at the request of citizens, including some within government, that thought we needed a stronger advocate for the Susquehanna watershed, an advocate that would hold polluters and the government to task. LSRA is a member of Waterkeeper Alliance and is rooted in the movement for swimmable, drinkable, fishable water.
The Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association is dedicated to the improvement and preservation of the ecology and aesthetic qualities of the Lower Susquehanna and Juniata watersheds. The Lower Susquehanna RIVERKEEPER® (LSR) works as an alliance builder, diplomat, and educator, but also, when the situation calls for it, an unrelenting defender and advocate of our right and the river’s right to be healthy and prosperous. The LSR utilizes education, chemical and biological monitoring, pollution patrols, partnership building, public events, research and legal action to improve the health of the Susquehanna’s waterways. LSR assists the government by reporting non-compliance of the law, and follows through where environmental protection agencies are unable to do their job due to politics or funding issues.
In 2006, the Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper® teamed up with PennFuture to reduce thermal impacts of the PPL Brunner Island (PPL-BI) power plant on the Susquehanna River. The plant withdraws from the Susquehanna and later discharges up to 795 million gallons of once-through condenser cooling water each day. That uncooled wastewater reached temperatures as high as 123 degrees (F) in the discharge channel. PennFuture filed a Notice of Intent to Sue on behalf of Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper® against PPL-BI under the federal Clean Water Act for temperature violations. After intensified negotiations, on March 27, 2006, PPL-BI and DEP entered into a Consent Order and Agreement that was incorporated into a Stipulated Settlement filed before the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania at No. 202 M.D. 2006 on that same date. The Commonwealth Court adopted the Stipulated Settlement as an Order of the Court on March 30, 2006. This settlement is historic for the Susquehanna and a national model for stopping thermal water pollution from older power plants. In the settlement, PPL committed $120 million to construct cooling structures to reduce the temperature of the more than 600 million gallons of cooling water it discharges each day into the Susquehanna River, which is expected to alleviate the violations of the law. The violations had caused several large fish kills and impairment of fish habitat. PPL made those large investments to stop the problem, and also paid fines assessed by DEP directly to the Lancaster and York County Conservation Districts for measures to protect streams in the lower Susquehanna watershed.
The Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association serves all communities in the Lower Susquehanna and Juniata watersheds, as well as the Chesapeake Bay which includes roughly 4.5 million people. LSRA has over 100 members, including organizational members that represent hundreds more. In the past year, LSRA has engaged hundreds of citizens, or “Stewards” on the Susquehanna Rivers and its tributaries regarding issues including coal ash contamination, landfills, CAFOs/slaughterhouses, public access, agricultural pollution, stormwater runoff, the requirements of the Chesapeake Total Maximum Daily Load implementation, diseases which effect Smallmouth Bass, and the relicensing of Conowingo Dam.
Written by Ted Evgeniadis from Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper.