Stop the Chocolate Milk!

Now that summer is officially here, it is time to have some fun on the River! Rivers are an integral part of landscape here in NEPA and the arteries of a watershed, collecting stormwater that runs off the land surface and transporting it to a common waterbody. Rivers can collect a lot of junk picked up by stormwater runoff, this junk is called non-point source pollutants. If you are going out on the river after heavy rain, you may be noticing something is different about the water. The flowing, translucent blue water may now look like chocolate milk!

This happens as rainwater travels over the land on its way to the river, it can pick up pollutants. This can include obvious pollutants, like litter, spilled chemicals, or household waste, but did you know that dirt can also be a pollutant? Even though it can be found in nature, when runoff collects loose dirt and dumps it in a river, it creates sediment and that can be detrimental to the health of that ecosystem. Too much sediment will block the sunlight from getting to the bottom of that water body, making it impossible for plants to grow there. Without plants photosynthesizing, the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water would decrease significantly, and not provide enough oxygen to the aquatic fauna.

The good news is, you can keep this from happening in our watersheds and prevent our rivers from becoming chocolate milk. To do this, it is important to know what non-point source pollutants are and if you are putting any into your watershed. At, there is a checklist to perform an assessment of your home or property. If you are going to be building or doing any activity that will “disturb the earth,” make sure you contact the District and plan to prevent soil erosion from becoming sediment. The Pike County Conservation District is celebrating its 65th Anniversary this year and has been assisting landowners in sediment pollution prevention since its founding. Learn more at

Devan George is the Communications Coordinator for Pike County Conservation District. The Pike County Conservation District is committed to the long-term protection and sustainable use of Pike County’s natural resources. We accomplish this through partnership, education, technical assistance, planning, enforcement, and leadership. Follow the District on Facebook (@pikeconservation) or Instagram (@pike_conservation). You can contact the District by phone 570.226.8220 and email