Water Resource Issues in Delaware

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  • 1. Water Resource Issues in Delaware• Topic of Masters thesis• June 2002- May 2004• IPA, WRA, DNREC Aquifer
  • 2. Aquifers=Groundwater• Groundwater and surface water are a single source• One is connected to the other• Anything that impacts one, impacts the other Groundwater entering the pond• Potomac and Columbia creates these polynya Aquifers• SAS taps the Potomac Aquifer
  • 3. Potomac Aquifer
  • 4. Columbia Aquifer
  • 5. Suburbanization• Role of State Route 1• Removal of natural vegetation runoff, infiltration, nitrate levels in water• Impervious cover : footprint of homes, roads/driveways, shopping centers: infiltration• Subdivisions: water consumption— pools, golf courses, Anderson Homes “Designed to make a statement”• We see a net movement of water out of a watershed
  • 6. Agriculture• Poultry: 200 million chickens/ year in DE. Drink water, Produce nitrate-rich manure: polluting surface and ground water• Farming: acreage farmed increase in irrigation (plus competition with subdivisions)• Food Processing: washing and packaging of above .
  • 7. Industry• Spills and storage of toxic chemicals (chemical industry/petroleum industry)• Metachem LLC: Superfund site, chlorobenzene spill 1986, $100 million cleanup, largely un-remediated.(DNREC/ EPA in charge of site)• Local contamination of air, soil, and ground water (Columbia Aquifer); potential contamination of the Potomac Aquifer.
  • 8. Privatization of Water Service and Wastewater Treatment• Corporations= sales, profits, shareholders, commodities• Can this be a model for wise management/ conservation of a scarce resource?• Artesian, DE’s largest private water provider• Provides infrastructure and water delivery to New Castle County• Provides wastewater treatment (2X the expense of above)• The State regulates price (rate)
  • 9. SaltwaterIntrusion• Particular problem potentially to coastal areas of DE as population increases• As ground water is removed, seawater enters coastal aquifers contaminating them• Cape May, NJ and their Cohansey Aquifer had this happen• Above must rely on expensive desalination process for drinking water now
  • 10. Subsidence• Removal of large amounts of ground water compacts aquitards formations containing water)• Compacted aquitards do not recharge fully• Land lowers (sinks) i.e. Dover, DE and Bowers Beach, DE• More vulnerable to flood, tidal surge• Damage to infrastructure: bridges, roads, piping, buildings.