Green Delaware Action Alert #95

Letter to Mayor James Baker

April 23, 2001

Hon. James Baker FAX 571-4102
Mayor of Wilmington
800 N. French St.
Wilmington, DE 19801


Dear Mayor Baker:

Green Delaware has been saying to City representatives for years that we would like to move beyond our role of raising public awareness  to working with the City and others to design solutions. This remains our view. We had relatively little success with the previous administration, but still hope for a more cooperative relationship with yours.

We agree that the City should receive financial assistance in upgrading it's sewer system, but our support for such assistance depends on (1) the City making a credible commitment of it's own resources, (2) the development of a credible plan that meets the objectives of House Bill 195, and (3) adequate public monitoring and participation. 

We feel that each Combined Sewer Overflow needs to be marked, directly on it's structure, with warning signs. In our view the City made a serious error of judgement in arresting a Green Delaware member for stenciling CSO #26, which runs as an open channel through Brandywine Park. (Perhaps removing the "DANGER RAW SEWAGE" markings was an even greater error of judgement, but I do not know whether this was done by the City or the Delaware Division of Parks and Recreation.) 

We propose that the City of Wilmington join with Green Delaware, and perhaps the Wilmington River-City Committee, to immediately stencil or otherwise mark each of the 38 Combined Sewer Overflows. Time is of the essence because warm weather has arrived and people throughout the City will be tending to go near, or into, our contaminated rivers.

Also, we have had many conversations with Chaz Salkin, Director of the Delaware Division of Parks and Recreation, and others on his staff, about the need to keep visitors out of the water in Brandywine Park. About seven CSOs discharge in the park, and we think it is unconscionable to invite members of the public to a recreational facility and allow them to be exposed to serious health hazards. So far we have not received any constructive response from the state parks organization. Park officials have told us they make "absolutely no" effort to keep visitors out of the water. We believe it is essential to fence off the river, and for park staff to monitor the  ituation and intervene if and when visitors enter the water. We hope the City will agree.

We have heard that you are reviewing the proposed CSO abatement project in Canby Park. This is a good idea because the project as approved by the Public Works Department (1) is not consistent with a rational approach to eliminating the CSOs, and (2) would deface Canby Park unnecessarily.

We look forward to hearing from you about cooperation on these matters.

Yours very truly,

Alan J. Muller
Executive Director

Copy: Susan Regis Collins-Wilmington River-City Committee
Martha Denison
Governor Ruth Ann Minner
John Rago
Rep. Dick Cathcart
Sen. Patricia Blevins
Members of the General Assembly
Members of City Council

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If you are associated with an environmental or civic or health organization, please ask it to support HB 195. If you are an officer of such an organization, please contact Green Delaware. See contact info below.

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Alan J. Muller, Exec. Director
P.O. Box 69
Port Penn, DE 19731
302-834-3466 Voice
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This page was last updated on  April 28, 2001.