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EPA to Raise Key Water-Quality Standard in Delaware River Estuary

Updated: Jun 26

December 2, 2022 |

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday (12/01) it will raise a key water-quality standard for an urban stretch of the Delaware River Estuary between Trenton and Wilmington, DE, giving a big — and unexpected — victory to environmental groups that had long-sought the increase.

The EPA said Thursday that a current standard for dissolved oxygen is not high enough to sustain populations of all fish, particularly the endangered Atlantic sturgeon.

NJ SEED: The surprise announcement by EPA that it was accelerating the time frame to raise the standard for dissolved oxygen along a 38-mile stretch of the Delaware River running through the industrialized area from Trenton to Wilmington was not surprising from the Biden Administration. The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) has been working on a 5-year plan to bring that section of the river up to Clean Water Act (CWA) standards, but the EPA is shrinking that time to about a year. To achieve the goal, new technologies will need to be installed in wastewater treatment plants that discharge into the Delaware River including the cities of Camden, Philadelphia, and Wilmington – not an inexpensive proposition.

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