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Official writes DEP about Panther Creek pollution

State Sen. David Argall, R-Berks-Schuylkill, will pursue answers to increasing pollution visible in a Tamaqua waterway.

On Monday, Argall sent a letter to Patrick McDonnell, secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and voiced frustration that pollution in the form of bright orange-colored water at the Panther Creek still exists even after various initiatives.

The pollution also threatens the health of the Little Schuylkill River.

Conservationists and others worry about the environmental impact of the contamination, which appears to be acid mine drainage.

The Little Schuylkill River is routinely stocked for fishing season and some are wondering how fish can survive in that section of river.

Argall said he will try to get answers.

“As a co-sponsor of the original Growing Greener program, I have worked with many different watershed volunteers, government agencies, and businesses to remove acid mine drainage through public-private partnerships across this state.

“The Growing Greener program has been an effective tool in the long-standing and dedicated effort by our local public-private partnerships to clean up our waterways, but for some reason this has not improved the situation at the Panther Creek.”

Argall, who grew up in Tamaqua’s East End community, is familiar with the Panther Creek.

“I know that this creek has been polluted for generations. It’s near my childhood home and I explored it many times with my friends in the 1960s, much to my parents? dismay!”

Argall told McDonnell he is resolved to working together to address the issue.

“If funding is an issue, I stand fully prepared to make this a priority issue in the upcoming Senate budget debate and Appropriations Committee hearings.”

Bright orange water was visible last week, although appears less so this week. Local residents say it’s a recurring problem but seems to be more severe than usual.

“I have not seen that color since I was young,” said Bob Gill of Tamaqua. “The Little Schuylkill Conservation cleaned it up back then.”

The Panther Creek in Tamaqua, seen here Tuesday morning near the South Greenwood Street bridge, appears to be clearing after last week's bout of bright orange water, thought to be acid mine drainage. State Sen. David Argall is looking into the source of the contamination and possible solutions. DONALD R. SERFASS/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS