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


Mariner East 2 pipeline construction crews work in the backyards of homes on Lisa Drive in West Whiteland Township, Chester County, on May 2. Sinkholes that opened in the area prompted the state's Public Utility Commission to order that an existing pipeline nearby, the Mariner East 1, be shut down until it could be determined that the sinkholes didn't threaten its safety. PUC on May 3 approved a re-start of Mariner East 1.
Updated: October 18, 2018 | 4:53 pm

Sunoco: Mariner East 2 delayed to 2020, so company will join three pipes as substitute

The cross-state natural gas liquids pipeline Mariner East 2 was supposed to begin operation by the end of September. Now, the company has come up with a workaround after acknowledging another lengthy delay in its pipeline project.

By Jon Hurdle

Construction on the Mariner East 2 pipeline has faced myriad problems, including damaged water supplies and sinkholes in a residential neighborhood in Chester County.
Updated: October 16, 2018 | 12:56 pm

DEP awards water quality-related grants funded by $12.6M penalty against Sunoco

Money will go to efforts in 14 Pa. counties
By Scott Blanchard

Trees cut on a Susquehanna County property in March 2016 to make way for the proposed Constitution Pipeline. The company has said it will fight a FERC order upholding New York State's denial of a permit for the project.

‘energy, explained’ podcast: How one family lost the farm to a failed pipeline project

In the latest episode of “energy, explained,” the new podcast from StateImpact Pennsylvania, Megan Holleran tells her family’s story — complete with an unexpected twist — to StateImpact’s Susan Phillips.

By Susan Phillips and Scott Blanchard

The Tunkhannock Creek crosses Pocono Raceway property in Long Pond, Pa. It feeds into the Delaware River. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Environmentalists win battle to protect ‘exceptional’ streams in the Poconos

A group of resort owners had challenged DEP's new classification of headwater streams in Monroe County
By Catalina Jaramillo

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.

U.S. court ruling opens door to more suits over contaminated water supplies

Both suits requested that the Navy provide funding for medical monitoring of the families’ health condition as a result of the toxic exposure. They also sought a large-scale health study to determine whether PFAS contamination caused unusual levels of illness in the community — and to what extent.

By Dana Bate, WHYY

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.

Wolf sets up government panel to study PFAS chemicals

Contamination has been found at sites including Montgomery, Bucks and Franklin counties. Pennsylvania doesn’t have health limits on the chemicals, and a Wolf administration spokesman said the governor wants the state to establish such limits.

By Jon Hurdle

A plane takes off from Philadelphia International Airport which is located near the Delaware River.

Rising sea levels could affect your flight. Airports at water’s edge are trying to make sure they don’t

Thirteen U.S. airports have runways that could be underwater by mid-century. Airports are working on ways to protect electrical equipment and infrastructure.

By Susan Phillips

This February 2018 photo shows the most recent proposed route for the PennEast pipeline through Albertine Anthony's farm in Palmerton, Pennsylvania. The route cuts through a triangle of unfarmed wetland that is the source of Anthony's home water supply.
Updated: September 13, 2018 | 4:36 pm

FERC urged to block tree-cutting before final decisions on PennEast pipeline

The Delaware River Basin Commission said it thinks the company might want to start clearing trees before its project gets all necessary approvals. In part, the commission is worried about problems that could occur if the pipeline never gets built.

By Jon Hurdle

An example of the solid chemicals and brine that are removed from fracking fluid.
Updated: September 14, 2018 | 3:51 pm

More than half PA gas wells used ‘secret’ chemicals for fracking or drilling, report says

Companies are allowed to protect trade secrets, and the health risks of unidentified chemicals are unknown. Advocates push for disclosure, saying the public needs to know about the chemicals in order to help protect drinking water.

By Jon Hurdle

The contaminated Bishop Tube former industrial site in Malvern, Pa. Environmentalists say DEP has neglected the cleanup over many years.

Court rejects developer’s effort to block protest against town homes plan

Delaware Riverkeeper Network says suit tried to silence its right to free speech
By Jon Hurdle
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