Health of the Delaware River: Where Are We Heading?

NJ Spotlight | March 5, 2020 | Roundtables
After decades of progress in cleaning up the river, advocates worry about the impact of regulation rollback; livestream of roundtable discussion

The Delaware River is a lot cleaner than in the mid-20th century when discharges from wastewater treatment plants turned it into an “open sewer,” in the words of the Delaware River Basin Commission. Since then, tougher regulation on discharges has boosted oxygen levels in the river, allowing fish such as shad to return and breed in areas that previously supported little or no aquatic life, while improving water quality for drinking and recreation.

But now the gains are threatened by the Trump administration’s final rollback of the Waters of the U.S. Rule that protects smaller wetlands and seasonal streams from pollution or development. Since those sources feed larger waterways like the Delaware River — whose watershed supplies drinking water to some 13 million people — the measure could set back years of progress, advocates say.

At an NJ Spotlight roundtable today in Trenton, panelists address the progress that has been made in the Delaware River watershed over the last half-century and examine the factors that could slow or reverse it.

The roundtable at Cooper’s Riverview, 50 Riverview Plaza, Trenton, NJ 08611, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. is being livestreamed by NJTV News.