In Delaware, 377 water bodies are impaired, and 30 state waterways are not fishable. However, Gov. Jack Markell announced a plan March 4 to pay for stormwater, wastewater and drinking water infrastructure upgrades. The initiative, Clean Water for Delaware’s Future, would impose a “clean water fee” on residential, commercial, and industrial property owners.

Over the next five years, more than $500 million in wastewater facility upgrades are needed statewide along with more than $150 million in stormwater upgrades, more than $75 million for removing toxics, and more than $75 million in upgrades at industrial facilities. To supplement the State Revolving Fund and pay for these upgrades, the clean water fee would generate $30 million annually, leveraging more than $120 million in total financing annually for clean water investments and supporting more than 1,000 jobs per year in science, engineering, and construction. Annually, the fee would cost households about $45 to $85 based on lot size. Commercial and industrial facilities could pay up to $25,000 a year.

If passed, the initiative would:

  • Remove toxics and restore streams and rivers;
  • Repair and update wastewater and drinking water treatment plants;
  • Modernize stormwater infrastructure in communities to improve flood and storm resilience;
  • Support conservation/agricultural practices that prevent pollutants from reaching surface and ground waters;
  • Protect and restore critical natural resources like wetlands and forests that help purify water and mitigate flooding; and
  • Make important upgrades to industries, which will systematically reduce impacts to water resources.

Watch below as Gov. Markell discusses the Clean Water for Delaware’s Future Initiative.  Also check out Delaware Online’s special report on Delaware’s water issues.