EXPLAINER | Delaware Watershed
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Delaware Watershed

The crew on the Drillboat Apache brings in lines tied to explosives used to break up rocks at the bottom of the Delaware River near Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania. It’s one of the final stages of a controversial project to deepen the river’s shipping channel.

Kimberly Paynter / WHYY

The crew on the Drillboat Apache brings in lines tied to explosives used to break up rocks at the bottom of the Delaware River near Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania. It’s one of the final stages of a controversial project to deepen the river’s shipping channel.

StateImpact Pennsylvania, Newsworks.org, WHYY and NJ Spotlight are collaborating on a series of stories about the Delaware River Watershed.

The watershed stretches from upstate New York through Pennsylvania and New Jersey, emptying out in the Delaware Bay. It supplies water to more than 15 million people, or about 5% of the nation’s population. Its natural lands both protect clean water and provide a habitat of regional and hemispheric importance.

The story of the river includes stories of its people and wildlife that depend on it for survival; the threats to continued sources of clean water; and the river as an economic engine.

The project is funded by The William Penn Foundation. Below are contributions from StateImpact Pennsylvania.

Latest stories


A new sinkhole that opened up on Sunday was surrounded by orange plastic fencing outside a suburban home at Lisa Drive in West Whiteland Township, Chester County.

Drilling on shaky ground: Why Chester County’s DA is investigating the Mariner East pipeline project

StateImpact Pennsylvania reporter Susan Phillips discusses the Mariner East project’s problems, and how a pipeline explosion in western Pennsylvania led District Attorney Tom Hogan to take a hard look at a pipeline in his own backyard.

By Staff

In this Aug. 1, 2018 photo shown on the former grounds of Naval Air Warfare Center Warminster is the Ann's Choice Retirement Community and the Warminster Community Park in Warminster, Pa. In Warminster and surrounding towns in eastern Pennsylvania, and at other sites around the United States, the foams once used routinely in firefighting training at military bases contained per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. EPA testing between 2013 and 2015 found significant amounts of PFAS in public water supplies in 33 U.S. states. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Updated: February 15, 2019 | 4:43 pm

Pa. to begin its own process of setting health limit for two PFAS chemicals

As EPA launches national PFAS plan, Pennsylvania says its people ‘can’t wait’ for federal government
By Jon Hurdle and Susan Phillips

The Horsham Air Guard Station in Bucks County, Pa. where the use of PFAS chemicals in firefighting foam has been linked with contamination of local water supplies.
Updated: February 14, 2019 | 4:02 pm

EPA says it will start process to regulate PFOA and PFOS this year

Critics say long-awaited Action Plan on PFAS represents the latest delay in protecting public health
By Jon Hurdle and Susan Phillips

The site of the Revolution Pipeline explosion that occurred in September 2018.
Updated: February 8, 2019 | 4:13 pm

PA DEP halts new pipeline permits for Mariner East, cites ongoing violations with Revolution pipeline

The DEP says Energy Transfer, which is the parent company of Sunoco, failed to fix problems after an explosion rocked Beaver County in September.

By Susan Phillips

A view of the Delaware River from Milford, Pa. The  Delaware River Basin Commission has proposed a fracking ban in the basin, but New Jersey's governor wants the commission to ban related activities as well.

New Jersey governor: Ban fracking, all related activities in Delaware River Basin

New prohibitions would be a big victory for environmentalists and residents who have been campaigning for them for years.

By Tom Johnson, NJ Spotlight

In this Aug. 1, 2018 photo, a water tower stands above a residential neighborhood in Horsham, Pa. In Horsham and surrounding towns in eastern Pennsylvania, and at other sites around the United States, the foams once used routinely in firefighting training at military bases contained per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. EPA testing between 2013 and 2015 found significant amounts of PFAS in public water supplies in 33 U.S. states.

Report says EPA refuses to regulate two PFAS chemicals

If feds are withdrawing from PFAS rules, states will have to redouble efforts to protect public health, advocates say
By Jon Hurdle and Susan Phillips

A new sinkhole that opened up on Sunday was surrounded by orange plastic fencing outside a suburban home at Lisa Drive in West Whiteland Township, Chester County.

To help deal with Chester County sinkhole, Sunoco removes product from 44 miles of pipeline

No natural gas liquids are flowing in Mariner East 1 anywhere in Pennsylvania, PUC says
By Jon Hurdle

The Horsham Air Guard Station in Bucks County, Pa. where the use of PFAS chemicals in firefighting foam has been linked with contamination of local water supplies.

Pa. might set maximum limits on toxic chemicals in drinking water. Some ask: What’s there to decide?

Activists want new panel to regulate the chemicals in the absence of federal standards
By Jon Hurdle

Freshwater mussel hatchery at Bartram’s Gardens aims to provide natural filter for Pennsylvania rivers and streams

Pennvest invests $7.9 million for mid-Atlantic hatchery
By Susan Phillips

Crews worked on Monday Jan. 21 to stabilize a new sinkhole that opened up at Lisa Drive, a suburban development in West Whiteland Township, Chester County where Sunoco operates its Mariner East pipelines.
Updated: January 22, 2019 | 10:12 am

Sunoco to ‘purge’ part of Mariner East 1 after new sinkhole opens at Lisa Drive

Sinkholes in early 2018 exposed a section of Mariner East 1, prompting a Public Utility Commission administrative law judge to shut down the pipe and halt construction of two new lines, citing an “imminent risk” to the public. 

By Jon Hurdle
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