Water quality | Delaware First Media
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Water quality

Courtesy of New Castle County government

DNREC and Delaware’s Division of Public Health are accepting proposals from state agencies, county and municipal governments and conservation districts for matching grants to address water issues.


Pamela D'Angelo

The federal rollback of a controversial Obama-era Clean Water Act rule is getting mixed reactions in Delaware.

Courtesy of the City of Newark

The project turning a former University of Delaware dormitory site into a park is moving forward.

Delaware Public Media

Some Delaware lawmakers want to find more money to invest in water infrastructure improvements.

Legislation creating a clean water trust fund cleared a House committee this week.

Courtesy ofCDC.gov

Concerns about the effects of toxic PFAS chemicals on public water supplies in some areas of Delaware are rising with the announcement of a federal government probe into a reserve base at New Castle, and a report that the Pentagon is seeking to weaken standards for cleaning up contamination at military installations such as Dover Air Force Base.

Jon Hurdle / Delaware Public Media

Elisia Downing has been a resident of Ellendale for only a few months but she’s already familiar with the challenges of living without clean water from the taps in the home she shares with her daughter.

Delaware Public Media

Contamination by toxic PFAS chemicals in ground water at Dover Air Force Base was dramatically higher than federal health limits recommended this year, according to a new analysis from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Courtesy ofCDC.gov

Delaware researchers are getting more federal funding to develop recommendations to address the state’s climate challenges.

Delaware Public Media

UPDATE: The advisory was lifted at 3 p.m. on May 24. 


State environmental officials have issued a recreational water advisory for Slaughter Beach after tests revealed high amounts of bacteria in the water.


A future with less pollution in the Inland Bays?

May 11, 2018
Katie Young / Delaware Center for the Inland Bays

In less than a month, the City of Rehoboth Beach will start discharging treated wastewater through an outfall pipe into the Atlantic Ocean.

Delaware Center for the Inland Bays Executive Director Chris Bason says once Rehoboth stops discharging treated wastewater into the canal on June 1, the final major point source of discharge into Rehoboth Bay will be eliminated.

via Linne Industries website

Nutrients at the bottom of a pond allow for algae to grow, but when too much algae spreads across a pond, those nutrients become problematic.




Newark start-up Linne Industries has a solution to control algae bloom populations and mosquitos, ultimately improving water quality.

Katie Peikes / Delaware Public Media

Third graders in Seaford waded into watershed education Thursday with the Department of Natural Resource and Environmental Control’s mobile science trailer, learning about the importance of water in nature.


Delaware Public Media

Governor Markell signed a proclamation declaring last week “Septic Smart Week.” The aim is to send a message to Delawareans about proper septic system care.


But Jack Hayes, the program manager for Delaware's Division of Water, said proper septic system care should be noted year-round.


PFA is not an issue in Newark's water

Aug 12, 2016


A recent Harvard study that looked at drinking water contamination said Newark had unsafe levels of PFAs, an industrial chemical, in its water. The city says that's wrong.

Local municipalities have until this Thursday to send in their wastewater or surface water project proposals to DNREC.

Eligible projects include water pollution control, green technology practices and wetland restoration. Applicants can ask for up to $50,000 in grants, with a 1 to 1 cash match requirement.

Greg Pope, who runs DNREC’s finance assistance branch, says these grants are especially helpful for improving infrastructure in small towns.


Karen Adair/The Nature Conservancy

Next year, the Delaware chapter of The Nature Conservancy plans to launch a program that uses citizen science to restore local waterways.

The program, called Stream Stewards, will corral high school and college students and state park volunteers to test water quality in the watersheds that intersect the First State National Park.

Richie Jones, who directs Delaware’s Nature Conservancy chapter, says getting citizens involved helps gather a lot of data on watersheds that they wouldn’t be able to get otherwise. On a larger level, he hopes the program will strengthen the connection between the public and their local waterways.

“It’s a way of engaging the public in water quality issues and by doing that we hope to increase people’s awareness that affect water quality in our watersheds," said Jones.

Courtesy: Center for the Inland Bays

A new report says Southern Delaware's Love Creek has high concentrations of bacteria and nitrogen -- and scientists think some of the pollution might stem from nearby septic systems.

DNREC has fined Mountaire Farms for discharging excessive pollutants into the St. Martin River from its Selbyville facility.


The facility violated a permit that limits the amount of fecal bacteria, oil and grease and other contaminants that it’s allowed to release. Bryan Ashby, an environmental program manager at DNREC, says these pollutants came from one of the facility’s outfalls.

“In the area adjacent to outfall 002, there is a live hold where they keep chickens that are in cages prior to processing," said Ashby.

Delaware Public Media

Studying tropical storms is a risky business for scientists, says Shreeram Inamdar, a University of Delaware professor who studies watersheds.


“When I say large storms, I mean 10 to 11 inches of rainfall. That makes things very challenging because depending on the flow of the streams and rivers, and it can rip off your instrumentation. And there goes all of your data, samplers and all your investments.”

Delaware Public Media

The pollution in South Bethany’s dead end canals is well-known in the community. For over ten years, an overload of nutrients, like nitrogen and phosphorus, has created large, unappealing algal blooms. Especially after rain, brown water from the bottom of the canal will rise up along the bulkheads, bringing the foul smell of sewer gas to residential areas.


The Mid-Atlantic Environmental Law Center, representing environmental watchdog group Food and Water Watch, says it’s discovered that Mountaire’s poultry processing plant in Selbyville is exceeding pollution limits by large amounts.

The pollutants include oil and grease, ammonia nitrate and enterococci, a type of bacteria that’s linked with poultry. They claim that for about five years, pollutants have been discharging into the Sandy Branch section of the St. Martin River, close to the Maryland border. The St. Martin River is also one of the most unhealthy areas in the Maryland Coastal Bays.

Nanticoke Watershed Alliance

The health of the Nanticoke River improved little in the past year according to its report card that was launched today (Thursday).

The report card noted that excessive nitrogen levels and low water clarity were the two biggest issues hurting the Nanticoke watershed.


Eli Chen/Delaware Public Media


In a 4-2 vote, the Environmental Appeals Board dismissed the Delaware Surfrider Chapter’s case against DNREC over its approval of a loan to help fund Rehoboth Beach’s ocean outfall pipe project.

The pipe would redirect treated wastewater from the city of Rehoboth Beach from the Inland Bays to the Atlantic Ocean. Nutrients from city’s wastewater have contributed to the pollution of the Inland Bays for eight decades. The Surfrider Foundation, along with the Delaware Sierra Club Chapter and other environmental groups, have opposed the project, saying that the effluent should be used instead to fertilize farmland, a method known as land application.