delware environmental institute

News Journal: Delaware's dirty water

Thousands of miles of water run through Delaware, in creeks and streams and rivers and bays, and very little of it is considered healthy. Nearly all of the state's rivers and streams – 94 percent, the highest amount in the region – are so bad that fish can't thrive. In 85 percent of them, Delawareans can't swim. Exempt from these dubious distinctions: the 24-mile Delaware Ocean coast and the Delaware Bay shore. Many days, Delawareans look out over the state's waters and see only calm and beauty. But the problem of dirty water is real, a product of dangerous toxins, unsanitary runoff and destructive deposits creeping in unseen. If left untouched, Delaware runs the risk of endangering its drinking water supplies, leaving fish caught in state waters too contaminated to eat and losing a multimillion dollar tourism industry built on a promise of clean, clear water.