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Wastewater Plants Need Tougher Standards, Report Urges

Updated: Jun 26

October 7, 2022 |

Scientists at the Delaware River Basin Commission are urging the agency to ensure more oxygen is available for migrating fish by setting stricter standards for wastewater treatment plants that discharge into the urban section of the river.

In a landmark report that represents the conclusion of five years’ work, the water experts said it’s technically feasible to reduce the ammonia content of the plants’ output to the point where dissolved oxygen — a key measure of the river’s health — would significantly increase, and the “designated use” of that section of the river would be upgraded to allow propagation of fish.

NJ SEED: The Delaware River is a vital resource that has often lacked the attention it deserves. The changes recommended by the draft report are important to improving the quality of the lower portion of the river. The cost of mitigating wastewater treatment, even at $3.50 a month for customers of treatment facilities, may seem trivial to academics but in light of surging fuel prices, rising home heating costs, and runaway inflation every few dollars additional can be painful.

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