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Delawareans rally for cleaner water quality

Katie Peikes
Delaware Public Media
Amy Barra from the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays tells Gabrielle Feliberty about a species of fish during a game at the Clean Water Rally.

About a hundred environmentalists and members of the public gathered outside of Legislative Hall on Tuesday, urging lawmakers to fund clean water improvements across Delaware.

It’s the fourth straight year they’ve held a clean water rally to get lawmakers on board with spending to clean up drinking water and waterways in Delaware. Many environmental groups set up booths to talk about the importance of clean water.

Over 94 percent of Delaware’s waterways are considered polluted and some communities don’t have clean drinking water.

Environmentalists rallied Tuesday, saying they’d like the state to make clean water a priority beyond the $6 million of investments in Gov. John Carney’s (D) proposed budget.

Delaware Nature Society Advocacy Director Brenna Goggin says that $6 million is a start, but more needs to be done.

“It’s the literal, proverbial drop in the bucket,” Goggin said. “We need to have some type of dedicated funding stream.”

A Clean Water and Flood Abatement Task Force was created in 2015 to examine improving Delaware’s water recommended the state budget $100 million a year to address water quality issues, but no amount that high has been budgeted for clean water since.

Among some of the issues, the Blades community had problems with levels of perflorinated compounds (PFCs) above the Environmental Protection Agency’s health advisory in February. Some residents in the Millsboro community have high levels of nitrates in their wells believed to be associated with a poultry producer’s wastewater operation.

And Dover resident Alicia Feliberty says her family has had issues with hard water with lots of minerals for five years.

“It leaves a white film on your faucets and it leaves a film on the toilet and you have to scrub it with a special pumice stone to get it off,” Feliberty said.

Feliberty bought a filter system to take the minerals out, and her family can drink their water.

Two clean water bills were introduced this year. Neither has advanced out of committee.

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