Swiftwater and Indian Run EV Petition


BWA and co-petitoners Tobyhanna-Tunkhannock Creek Watershed Association, Brodhead Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Swiftwater Preserve and Buck Hill Conservation Foundation submitted a petition to Pennsylvania’s Environmental Quality Board (EQB) seeking a redesignation of the Upper Swiftwater Creek (above Route 611) and Indian Run to “Exceptional Value” as its designated use. The EQB, in October, 2007, accepted the petition for further study of the streams by PA Department of Environmental Protection. In October 2008, based on studies by DEP biologists, the streams were listed as having the Existing Use of Exceptional Value, i.e. the water quality of Swiftwater Creek and Indian Run cannot be degraded.

Since then, the Kalahari Resort and Water Park was built in the Swiftwater headwaters.   When it was determined there was not enough water to supply the resort, Tobyhanna Township made an agreement to purchase water from the Brodhead Creek Regional Authority, and a water line runs from Swiftwater to Kalahari. (A water line was previously installed to serve Sanofi.)  This protects flows in Swiftwater Creek.  Wastewater from the resort flows to the wastewater treatment plant in Stroudsburg via a sewer line installed to serve Sanofi and Pocono Township.

The proposed Pocono Springs Village,  adjacent to Kalahari,  must also deal with the challenges of locating a large water user in the headwaters of a Exceptional Value stream. To assist with the development, Tobyhanna Township is studying ways to provide a sustainable water supply and wastewater treatment system for the Pocono Springs project.

In addition, a group of landowners in Tobyhanna township formed the Monroe County Coalition for Clean Streams and is presenting arguments that the Swiftwater Creek and Indian Run should not be protected as Exceptional Value streams.

To see the status of the Swiftwater and Indian Run Exceptional Value designation, follow the adoption of Regulation #7-534, the Triennial Review of Water Quality Standards on the website of  the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC), here.

What does this mean?

Swiftwater Creek, like all the streams in the Paradise, Pocono, McMichael, Marshalls watersheds, and most of the Brodhead mainstem, was designated a “High Quality Cold Water Fishery” stream. This designation means that existing water quality must be protected when any permit to discharge to the stream is being considered. An exception MAY be made to that protection requirement – and the stream may be degraded – if the proposed project can be shown to have a “social or economic justification.” However, the cold water fishery must still be protected.

When a stream is designated “Exceptional Value” the “social or economic justification” exception is not allowed. The existing water quality must be protected.

Exceptional value designation means development in the watershed must be done with great care, to assure that water quality is not degraded.

Read the Petition – SWIFTWATER PETITION in PDF form- part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5