Clean water committee seeks ideas on how to spend money

Charlie Megginson Government, Headlines

a body of water surrounded by trees

DNREC Photo

Six months after being signed into law, DNREC officials have shared their plans to solicit public input on priorities for the Delaware Clean Water Trust Oversight Committee.

The agency will host three virtual public information sessions to hear from Delaware residents and businesses about how the trust should support water quality improvements.

House Bill 200, or the Clean Water for Delaware Act, was signed by Gov. John Carney in July 2021.

The law creates a framework and funding source which lawmakers have said will improve the quality of Delaware’s water supply and waterways.

The fund includes $50 million in state funds allocated by the bond bill with an additional $30 million said to be coming from federal grants.

The $50 million originally outlined in Carney’s FY 2022 budget included $22.5 million for safe drinking water, $22.5 million for water pollution control and $5 million for resource conservation and development.

The trust’s goals include:

  • Improving flood resiliency and drainage in our most flood-prone communities
  • Repairing failing sewer pipes and septic systems
  • Improving drinking water quality & expanding access to safe drinking water
  • Removing decades-old pollution from our waterways
  • Increasing conservation funding for Delaware’s agriculture community
  • Issuing low-interest loans and grants for low-income and underserved communities

Tasked with implementing the law’s wide-ranging list of imperatives is a seven-member committee composed of the secretaries of the Departments of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Health and Social Services, Finance, Agriculture and Transportation, as well as the two co-chairs of the General Assembly’s bond bill committee.

The trust is designed so that it does not run out of funds. The money in the Clean Water Trust account will be a revolving fund, replenished year after year by interest from project loans.

The Clean Water Trust input and information sessions are set for 9 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 25; 1 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 2; and 6 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 10. Links to join the meetings can be found at this link.

In a press release, DNREC said they have created a draft of a strategic plan framework that will be presented at the meetings, but said it’s “only as a starting point for public discussion. Public input and ideas are needed and encouraged to form the basis of the plan for Trust spending.”

“Clean Water Trust funding will touch almost every aspect of water quality improvement and water-related projects in the state,” the agency said.

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