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Clean Water for Delaware's Future

Governor Markell has proposed a comprehensive upgrade plan for protecting public health and cleaning up Delaware’s bays, rivers and streams within a generation, while creating jobs and strengthening Delaware’s economy.
“Clean water is essential for a healthy and prosperous Delaware,” said Gov. Markell. “We have made great strides reducing air pollution and cleaning up brownfield sites, yet nearly every waterway in Delaware, other than our beaches, remains unsafe for swimming and fishing and nearly every community is struggling with more frequent flooding and storms. Clean Water for Delaware’s Future will invest in projects that improve water quality, improve community resiliency, protect our health and safety, support our multi-billion dollar tourism and agriculture industries, bolster the economic revitalization of our cities and towns, and increase property values—all while creating thousands of jobs for years to come.”
• Watch the DNREC YouTube Channel video “Clean Water for Delaware's Future” 
Governor Markell and Secretary O’Mara made the announcement March 4 at the DuPont Environmental Education Center overlooking the Christina River, which while picturesque has some of the highest levels of toxic pollutants in the state. They were joined by state and local elected officials, leaders of the state’s business community and representatives of state and regional environmental organizations.
Clean Water for Delaware’s Future will generate additional funding for wastewater, stormwater and drinking water projects throughout the state. Funds will be used to support projects that will:
• Remove toxics and restore streams and rivers;
• Repair and update wastewater and drinking water treatment plants;
• Modernize stormwater infrastructure in communities to improve flood and storm resilience;
• Support conservation/agricultural practices that prevent pollutants from reaching surface and ground waters;
• Protect and restore critical natural resources like wetlands and forests that help purify water and mitigate flooding; and
• Make important upgrades to industries, which will systematically reduce impacts to water resources.
Most of Delaware’s waters do not meet water quality standards for their designated uses – drinking, swimming and supporting fish and other aquatic life. The state’s list of impaired waters includes 377 bodies of water that suffer from excess nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus), low dissolved oxygen, toxics, and bacteria. Extensive analysis of chemical contaminants in fish has led to advisories that fish are unsafe to eat in more than 30 waterways statewide.
“Over the past forty years, Delaware has made some progress in improving water quality of our streams, rivers, and bays by upgrading some wastewater plants, expanding stormwater infrastructure, and implementing agricultural practices that reduce pollution,” said Sec. O’Mara. “But, challenges persist and if we continue on our current path, clean water is still many decades away. Clean Water for Delaware’s Future is a comprehensive approach to cleaning up our waterways within a generation by accelerating investments that will reduce pollution and improve the resiliency of Delaware’s communities.”

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