We must support Delaware Clean Water Act

March 20, 2015

With the Delaware General Assembly now back in session, I was hoping to see more coverage and support for the governor and DNREC’s Clean Water Act for Delaware’s future plan.

It was my understanding that this plan was comprehensive in its approach to improve waterways throughout Delaware, modernize the infrastructure we use on a daily basis, and assist in the mitigation of flooding. I believe this plan is necessary as DNREC reports that 94 percent of rivers in the First State do not support healthy fish and aquatic life, and that 86 percent of those rivers are not safe for swimming, 74 percent of ponds do not support healthy fish and aquatic life, coastal flooding has closed portions of Route One south of Dewey Beach, flooding on Wilmington Avenue in Rehoboth Beach and businesses on Main Street in Newark have suffered from heavy rains deluging an aging infrastructure.

These are just a few examples of an ever-present problem in our state. During a recent trip to South Carolina, several counties in surrounding Georgia and South Carolina were reporting problems during heavy rains that included an overwhelmed and outdated wastewater infrastructure releasing raw sewage into surrounding waters.

From my understanding, funding for this plan would come from a small fee added to a property tax bill and would cost less than $4 per month. Investing in these upgrades now will save the state, and taxpayers, from having to make larger, more expensive, emergency upgrades down the road. The proposed expense seems negligible when you consider the cost of pumping water from a basement or having to file an insurance claim for a car engine that flooded during heavy rains. Additionally, the ability of the state to raise these funds makes it possible to leverage private and foundation capital and to match federal grants.

I applaud the governor and DNREC for their plan to address the most important water quality issue our state has faced in over a generation. I urge the governor, DNREC and Legislature to fully support and advance a clean water plan this year. Lastly, I hope that readers will take the time to contact their elected officials and encourage them to support this initiative.

Alex Makowski


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