Environment America Research & Policy Center today unveiled a first-of-its-kind interactive map of the Delaware River watershed. The map allows journalists, policymakers, and citizens to pinpoint pollution sources and consider common-sense solutions to address them.
“The Delaware River is a vital source of water for drinking, wildlife, and recreation,” said John Rumpler, clean water program director at Environment America Research & Policy Center. “But as our map shows, we still have work to do to ensure that the watershed is – and remains - as clean as we want it to be.”
The product of a year-and a half effort, the map draws on more than 5,000 data points from over a dozen sources to major pollution threats in the basin, including: 1) runoff from agriculture and impervious surfaces; 2) 660+ industrial sources; 3) 250+ sewage treatment plants; and 4) fossil fuel infrastructure such as pipelines, abandoned coal mines, and refineries. The map allows the public to see pollution sources in their neighborhood, as well as those upstream.
"This interactive map shows that, when it comes to water quality in the Delaware River basin, everything is connected," said Tony Dutzik, senior policy analyst at Frontier Group, which played a major role in developing the map. "The map provides residents of the basin with new insights about water quality challenges and how they can be solved."
In addition to the map itself, Environment America Research & Policy Center also released a set of fact sheets summarizing the data and outlining key solutions for reducing each type of pollution.
The map marks a key milestone in the work of the group’s state affiliates protect the Delaware River watershed – including protections for pristine waterways in New Jersey, keeping fracking and its waste out of the watershed, and defending protections of the Clean Water Act for streams and wetlands.
Yet as the map shows, much more work is needed.
"The Delaware River watershed has come back from the brink over the last half century. Our new interactive map gives citizens the power to see the threats our watershed faces now, so we can work together to make our water safe for swimming, fishing, and drinking," said Doug O'Malley, director of Environment New Jersey.