Yes, the university has several long-standing plans that are followed to minimize alterations of aquatic ecosystems related to campus. Key examples include:

  • Treated effluent from Penn State’s wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) has been land-applied year-round at sprayfields – the “Living Filter” – since 1983 rather than stream-discharged. An estimated 90% of the irrigated water, over 500 million gallons per year, recharges the region’s water table.  The land application of treated wastewater helps to maintain base flows in streams and reduces the impacts of drought conditions.
  • The SY40 Disposal of Pollutants in University Sanitary Systems policy prohibits the disposal of materials that could adversely affect the general public or wastewater personnel in the course of their work, could interfere with the operation of the University Sanitary Sewer system, or could pass through inadequately treated into the environmen
  • Penn State’s WWTP has not discharged to Thompson Run since 1983 and is thought to be one of the many reasons that the water quality of Spring Creek is considered to be better now than any time in the last 100 years. 
  • Penn State University has extensive stormwater management on site to minimize impacts to surface water bodies and streams. The University overall is a net zero discharger of surface runoff.

Learn more about university water conservation and preservation plans and practices here.