Monthly Archives: April 2001

Alert 96: Update on the “No Flush” campaign to end raw sewage dumping in Delaware river

April 27, 2001.

Greetings from Green Delaware:

The “official,” “Partnership with the Polluters” drain-marking project will be launched in Rodney Square, Wilmington, at 11:15 today. (in front of the mounted statue of Rodney.) “The Polluters,” in cooperation with State of Delaware officials (DNREC) and City of Wilmington officials, say they are going to mark the drains letting rain water into the pipes, but not the pipes letting sewage into the rivers. (A Green Delaware representative was arrested on April 20th by the City of Wilmington for stenciling “DANGER RAW SEWAGE” on a sewage ditch running through a picnic area in Brandywine (State) Park.)

The City of Wilmington did not respond to Green Delaware's invitation to cooperate in marking the sewer pipes. Green Delaware members are also asking that the sewage-laden Brandywine Creek be fenced off from the park and park visitors be kept out of the water. (State Parks Director Chaz Salkin and Gov. Minner's office have not been returning calls from Green Delaware.) Now, the Governor's office and DNREC seem to be claiming that the responsibility for protecting park visitors lies with the City of Wilmington, not the State. We have requested a copy of the contract or agreement between the City and the State for operation of Brandywine Park.

Recent press coverage has been mixed. WILM news radio extensively covered the arrest of a Green Delaware rep. on the 20th. WDEL news radio didn't send a reporter, but mentioned the event briefly. Editors of the Wilmington News Journal decided to black it out–they usually but not always black out Green Delaware's activities–, although the essence of the story appeared in the police report column. WHYY (Channel 12) sent a reporter–a reporter openly hostile to cleaning up the sewage–but later claimed that “a glitch in the tape” limited coverage. (As we reported in Alert 94, WHYY is seeking over $600,000 from Delaware taxpayers.

Governor Minner and DNREC officials have so far declined to support House Bill 195 (prime sponsor: Rep. Dick Cathcart), which would set a deadline for ending the raw sewage dumping. Support for HB 195 is very strong among the legislators of the General Assembly.

Public demands for cleaning up the sewage are growing. Rumors are circulating that the Minner Administration may be getting ready to support some degree of sewage warning/cleanup. Resistance to change is great, but hopefully we are reaching a point where people will be willing to work together constructively to solve this long-standing problem. This is the time to STAND FIRM AND NOT COMPROMISE. The public must be warned. The polluted waters must be fenced off. House Bill 195 must be passed without weakening amendments. OUR RIVERS, OUR HEALTH, AND OUR CHILDREN'S' HEALTH CAN BE PROTECTED.

Please continue to contact legislators and media to express support for “No Flush.”

Thanks for all you do

Alan Muller Executive Director

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If you are associated with an environmental or civic or health organization, please ask it to support HB 195. If you are an officer of such an organization, please contact Green Delaware. See contact info below.