CHELTENHAM, Pa. (CBS) — Small, unassuming Tookany Creek got the Hollywood treatment on Monday when movie star Mark Ruffalo waded in to personally check on the water quality. The visit drew attention to an effort to improve Philadelphia’s drinking water quality.
This was no publicity stunt. Ruffalo cares about water quality. He says it started with discovering the impact fracking was having on his own Delaware River-side home.
“Seeing the contamination first hand, seeing rivers and streams being dumped in and aquatic life dying there,” he said. “And then I started to realize how interconnected all these water systems are and feed into the Delaware River, which is the biggest, unfiltered water source in the world for 15-million people.”
Ruffalo founded Water Defense and, in Philadelphia for a film screening, asked to learn more about the Delaware River Watershed Initiative, an effort to restore the Delaware’s water quality. So into the Tookany — a Delaware feeder — he went, in decidedly unglamorous waders.
“I love this,” the actor said. “This is like growing up, catching salamanders and crayfish, playing in the water.”
And Julie Savet of the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Project loved having him.
“It’s really important that somebody that has this kind of stage is talking about what an important issue this is,” Savet said.
Ruffalo explained that the recent events in Flint, Michigan have highlighted the importance of safe, clean water.
“The sad truth about Flint is really just the canary in the coal mine. I mean, these contaminations are happening all over the United States,” Ruffalo said. “We just happened to find it in Flint and it happened to be really bad there, but the quality of water in the United States is definitely comprised.”