Green Delaware Press Release

 Contact:  Alan Muller, 302.834.3466,,

What:  Activists to stencil warning notices on raw sewage overflows in
Wilmington, Delaware, and call for state park officials to keep visitors
out of the sewage-laden water.

When:  April 20, 2001, at eleven am

Where: Brandywine (State) Park, Wilmington, Delaware. 
Sewer Overflow #26 is about 300 ft north of the I-95 bridge.  A parking lot under the bridge can be reached by turning North on Park Drive from Van Buren Street.

One of the jewels of Delaware's state park system is Brandywine Park, which follows the banks of Brandywine Creek for over a mile through the City of Wilmington.  But, about seven pipes called "Combined Sewer Overflows" dump raw sewage into the park during rain.  A few signs say "This waterway may contain raw sewage or disease-causing organisms ... please avoid swimming or other water contact."  However, park staff make no effort to keep visitors to the state facility out of the water, and on warm days whole families can be seen wading and swimming in the sewage-laden water.  Diseases transmitted by exposure to sewage include dysentery, cholera, hepatitis, meningitis, diarrhea, and worms.

Green Delaware has been asking officials of the Delaware Division of Parks and Recreation to keep park visitors out of the water until the sewage dumping can be stopped, but officials haven't acted.  Parks director Chaz Salkin said he had "no jurisdiction over the river." Delaware Parks is part of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.  Another part of the same agency, the Division of Water Resources, has issued permits allowing the sewage dumping.  A bill in the Delaware legislature, HB 195, would outlaw the sewer overflows, but the Dept. of  Natural Resources has so far not supported the bill.

Comment from Alan Muller, Executive Director of Green Delaware:

"State officials have made physical improvements to the park; it's hard to understand their disregard for the health of visitors.  We think it's unfair and possibly negligent to invite people to a recreational facility and expose them to serious health hazards."
Green Delaware will stencil Combined Sewer Overflows with "DANGER RAW SEWAGE."
More information on the Wilmington combined sewer overflows, and images of some, can be found at

People not able to attend are asked to contact Del. Gov Ruth Ann Minner (, 302.577.3210, or 302.739.4101) and ask her to protect visitors to Delaware state parks from exposure to sewage.

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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 21, 2001.