An excellent article in May's Delaware Today magazine called Dirty Little Secrets enumerates environmental concerns that should be drawing the attention of people in Delaware. They came up with this list after speaking with many top state officials and experts, from sources such as the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Division of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), the Delaware Sierra Club, the Delaware Nature Society, Green Delaware, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and many others.
Here is their list, which they indicate is not necessarily in order of importance. The article is not online, but it is worth reading because it not only spells out the issues in detail, but also gives an idea of what is being done (or isn't being done) to resolve these problems.
- Most of New Castle County's 500,000 residents live and work within the 50 mile nuclear fallout ingestion zone of seven nuclear reactors, several of which are nearly 30 years old.
- Twenty of the county's most hazardous waste sites are in Delaware
- Delaware's inland bays are choking on excess nutrients from septic tanks, waste-water treatment plants and chicken runoff
- The Indian River Power Plant has operated with an expired permit to expel wastewater for the past ten years
- In spite of $4.5 million in fines and actions taken by OSHA, EPA, and Gov. Minner, Motiva continues to rack up violations for extreme polllution
- Forty percent of the 1,563 native plants in Delaware are threatened or endangered
- It would cost $400 million to eliminate the 38 sewage overflow pipes that habitually dump dangerous wastes during wet weather into local waterways where people swim and fish
- Recycling is not a priority because it is widely perceived as unprofitable
- Elevated lead levels have shown up in the soil after paint chips from the St. Georges Bridge flaked onto nearby homes
- DNREC suspects arsenic and heavy metals may have contaminated the soil in more that 50 former tannery sites in Wilmington, including several playgrounds.