Weatherization Program Helps Delawareans Invest in Their Homes

Program is Free to Delaware Families Who Qualify

It’s time for Delawareans to prepare their homes for winter weather. The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control offers the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) at no cost to qualified low-income families to reduce energy costs.

DNREC encourages Delaware homeowners and renters to review the eligibility guidelines at https://de.gov/wap to then receive a free energy audit. An auditor will determine the services to improve the energy efficiency of the homes. Typical services include air-sealing, insulation, heating system repair, lighting upgrades and minor repairs that are necessary to complete energy-saving measures.

Last year, 195 Delawareans benefited from this program, with an average estimated savings of $283 per home per year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

The program will now be available throughout Delaware by Energy Coordinating Agency (ECA), which had previously contracted to provide services to 200 homes in New Castle County. Following a recent state competitive bidding process, ECA is contracted to weatherize an additional 200 homes each year in Kent and Sussex counties and, at the start of their contract, has a client waiting list with 100 potential homes. ECA will use two subtractors, Eleventh House Solutions and HELP Initiative, to provide administrative functions.

People interested in receiving weatherization services anywhere in the state can contact ECA at 302-504-6111 or ecasavesenergy.org/delaware-weatherization.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy uses science, education, policy development and incentives to address Delaware’s climate, energy and coastal challenges. For more information, visit the website and connect with DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contact: Michael Globetti, Michael.globetti@delaware.gov or Jim Lee, JamesW.Lee@delaware.gov.

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Report highlights Delawareans’ desire for climate change action

50th anniversary of Earth Week theme resonates across the state

DOVER, Del. – The theme for the 50th anniversary of Earth Week is climate change, an issue that concerns most Delawareans, according to a report commissioned by DNREC’s Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy. The report found 77% of Delawareans see climate change as a serious threat that will harm future generations.

The report, conducted by Standage Market Research in partnership with University of Delaware’s Center for Political Communication, is based on a survey of more than 1,100 Delaware adults. The full report, published this week, is available at de.gov/climatesurvey.

The full report builds on preliminary survey results released in February. It reveals differences in perceptions of climate change and sea level rise across the state and compared to those nationwide. Key findings include:

  • A majority of adults in both Delaware and the U.S. believe climate change is an important issue. Additionally, 64% of U.S. residents are worried about climate change, and the same is true of Delaware residents (62%).
  • Delawareans in all three counties say they have been personally affected by climate change. However, New Castle County residents are more likely than residents of Kent and Sussex counties to favor immediate action to reduce the impacts of climate change (76% versus 68% and 58%, respectively).
  • Sussex County residents are more likely to say they have been personally affected by sea level rise. More than half (51%) of adults in Sussex County said they have personally experienced or observed local impacts of sea level rise, compared to 47% for Kent and 45% of New Castle residents.
  • Women are more likely than men to say we should act now on climate change (78% versus 62%). They are also more likely to say they have personally experienced or observed local impacts of climate change (62% versus 50%). Opinions about sea level rise follow similar patterns.
  • There are no significant age differences for having personally experienced or observed local impacts of climate change. However, younger adults are also more likely to favor acting now to reduce the impacts of climate change (78%, versus 64% and 69%, respectively).

“The impacts of climate change threaten our environment, economy and way of life,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin. “Over the past decade the percentage of Delawareans concerned about this issue has increased. We continue to experience the impacts of sea level rise, hotter temperatures and more frequent intense storms, but we are also working toward solutions as we continue to develop Delaware’s Climate Action Plan.”

According to the climate perceptions survey, Delawareans support a range of options to address the causes and consequences of climate change, including:

  • 82% support preserving undeveloped land;
  • 80% believe we need stronger air pollution controls;
  • 79% support changing building codes;
  • 74% said roads and infrastructure should not be built in flood-prone areas;
  • 74% think we should increase the amount of electricity we get from renewable sources;
  • 73% believe we should improve energy efficiency standards;
  • 64% support elevating building in risk areas

Development of the Climate Action Plan will continue through 2020, with a report due in December. Public input sessions on development of the plan were held in each of the three counties in March. More than 250 people participated in those meetings, and many others have gone online to declimateplan.org to complete a questionnaire asking about various actions the state can take to address the causes and consequences of climate change.

The period to complete the questionnaire closes Friday, May 1.

Later this summer, virtual meetings will be held to gather additional public input addressing what the state can do to manage the impacts of climate change that we are already seeing, such as sea level rise. A third opportunity for the public to weigh in will occur this fall, after possible strategies have been identified.

About DNREC

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. For more information, visit the website and connect with DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contact: Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov; Jim Lee, jamesw.lee@delaware.gov

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DNREC announces changes to operations in response to COVID-19

Parks, wildlife areas open with no entrance fees until April 30,
but park and wildlife buildings, centers closed to public;
Fishing, hunting, boating licenses, park and conservation passes sales moved online

DOVER, Del. – The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control continues to focus on taking a proactive and preventative approach to keep communities and employees safe in the midst of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, while maintaining operations and services as best as possible.

To encourage Delawareans to be active outdoors and to provide space for activity during the coronavirus period, no fees will be charged or passes required for entrance to Delaware State Parks and state wildlife areas, effective immediately until April 30.

“Times are challenging and options are few, and this is an opportunity for Delawareans to experience our amazing parks and wildlife areas, to embrace nature while we maintain social distance from each other,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin. “Hopefully, people will enjoy them enough that they will want to keep coming back long after coronavirus has passed, so we encourage people to buy a state park or wildlife conservation area pass online to use for the rest of the season and to support park and wildlife area operations.”

  • State parks and wildlife areas are open, and no entrance fees will be charged from now until April 30. All state park campsite, cabins, bathhouses, cottages continue to be open at this time. Buildings such as park and wildlife area offices and nature centers will close after the end of the day Tuesday, and programs and tours are canceled. Anyone visiting a park or wildlife area is encouraged to engage in responsible social distancing practices, avoiding groupings of people. People can find parks and wildlife areas listed online.
  • As of Wednesday morning, sales of fishing licenses, hunting licenses conservation passes for vehicle access to wildlife areas and boat registrations will occur online only or at any third-party vendors that remain open, instead of in person at DNREC’s Dover office. Annual park passes good for the entire season and surf fishing tags should also be purchased online only or at any third-party agents instead of at park offices or in the Dover office; purchased park passes will be mailed before April 30. The Department has provided convenient links to these resources on its homepage, available at dnrec.delaware.gov.
  • Commercial fishing license sales will continue at the Department’s main office in Dover by appointment only. Call 302-739-9916 to make an appointment.
  • Applications and information provided for well, septic, air, water and other permits are being accepted by email, mail and phone, reducing direct interchange of documents.
  • Hearings for permits, regulations and appeals are being moved to phone or video for public access. Details on how to access any hearings will be posted with the official hearing notices.

Most Department-related events and programs, including tours, trainings and special events have been postponed, including the Junior Solar Sprint competition for middle-school students at Delaware Technical Community College’s Dover campus April 2, the volunteer training April 4 for the annual horseshoe crab spawning survey and the “Make a Splash” water education event for elementary students at the St. Jones Reserve April 7. Specific information about the status of any events is available on the online events calendar, parks program calendar and social media pages, Facebook and Twitter.

The Department remains open. Many office-based employees are working from home and remote locations or relocating within offices to create distance among individuals. Adjustments are being made to procedures for many parks, wildlife and field personnel to reduce interactions among employees and with the public.

For the latest information on COVID-19 in Delaware, visit de.gov/coronavirus.

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy uses science, education, policy development and incentives to address Delaware’s climate, energy and coastal challenges. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contact: Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov


Two wells near Dover AFB have possible elevated PFOS/PFOA levels

DNREC, EPA told results from USAF sampling are not yet validated

Dover, Del. – The U.S. Air Force (USAF) and Dover Air Force Base (AFB) notified Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) that preliminary (i.e., not yet validated) results show two wells on separate properties near the base have possible elevated levels of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). The preliminary results indicate concentrations above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s lifetime health advisory for these substances of 70 parts per trillion (ppt).

The preliminary, unvalidated results for these two wells are in addition to validated detections of PFOS and PFOA for four wells announced in July 2019. The USAF continues to provide alternative water supply to those properties. The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is working with DNREC, USAF, Dover AFB, and the owners of the affected wells to protect public health. The owners of the two wells, who each provide water to a single commercial business, have been notified and provided with bottled water by Dover AFB.

The unvalidated results of water samples recently collected by the USAF from ten other wells reported PFOS and PFOA below the federal health advisory level. Although the recent test results are unvalidated at this time, validation of the data is expected within 30 days.

PFOS and PFOA are part of a group of synthetic chemicals known as perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) used in a variety of products that over time have become widely distributed in the environment. These chemicals have been found at Dover AFB and other air bases and airports in firefighting foam. The USAF and EPA have been working with DNREC and DPH to determine the impacts of PFOS and PFOA on private wells in proximity to the base.

A USAF fact sheet about the Dover AFB PFOS and PFOA sampling published in spring 2019 indicated that groundwater samples collected in shallow monitoring wells on the base also showed levels of PFOS and PFOA above EPA’s 70 ppt health advisory.

No PFOS or PFOA have been detected in five nearby municipal water wells tested by Dover AFB’s water supplier, Tidewater Utilities. Tidewater sampled four on-base municipal supply wells and the off-base municipal supply well nearest the base. All these wells draw water from a deep, confined aquifer. There were no PFOS or PFOA detections in any of them.

The primary step necessary to protect the public’s health from exposure to PFOS and PFOA in drinking water is to use an alternate water source until a permanent solution can be determined, which may consist of treatment, connecting to a new system, or other solution. DPH encourages the impacted businesses, office building, and dwellings in the affected area to use the bottled water provided by the DAFB until a permanent solution is in place. Anyone with specific health concerns or questions about potential health impacts is encouraged to contact their primary care provider. General questions about the health effects from, and exposure to, PFAS can call DPH at 302-744-4546.

At this time, there is no federal or state required standard for PFAS substances in drinking water supplies, so actions taken are based on the federal lifetime health advisory level.

For more information, please contact:
436th Airlift Wing, Public Affairs
Cell Phone: 302-363-9006 or 302-677-3372.
Email: 436AW.PA@us.af.mil

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DNREC sponsoring Earth Day events throughout the state

DOVER – In observance of Earth Day, Monday, April 22, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control encourages all Delawareans to take part in the many activities across the state that not only help the environment but also offer an opportunity for enjoyment of the outdoors.

 

Thursday, April 18

Earth Day Hike and Meet Up at Grain H2O
Lums Pond State Park, Summit Marina, Bear – 6 p.m.
In celebration of Earth Day, take a refreshing hike around the park. Afterward, meet up at Summit Marina’s Grain H20 restaurant and enjoy an elixir (non-alcoholic drink) such as the Peach Agave Tea, Berry Blast or Paloma Fizz. Pre-registration required. Call 302-368-6989 for cost and information.

 

Friday, April 19

Full Moon Hike
Bellevue State Park, 800 Carr Road, Wilmington – 7:30 p.m.
Take an hour-long hike under the full moon. Look and listen for nocturnal animals. Wear comfortable shoes as we will venture into the woods. Call 302-761-6963 by 4 p.m. the last business day before the hike for meeting location. Event free of charge.

Full Moon Hike
Holts Landing State Park, Dagsboro – 7:30 p.m.
Hike the Sea-Hawk Trail with a naturalist at night! Although the full moon will provide some light, learn how to rely on other senses to navigate this 1.7-mile trail, and find out about some of the nocturnal creatures that call this park home. Pre-registration required; call 302-227-2800. $5 per person.

Park After Dark: Full Moon Fridays
White Clay Creek State Park, Newark – 7:30 pm
Meet at Possum Hill Entrance for Tri-Valley Trail and join a park naturalist for an evening hike to enjoy the moon’s journey in the sky. Pre-registration required, $5 per person; register with payment by noon on Friday and receive $1 discount. For information, call 302-368-6900.

 

Saturday, April 20

Party for the Planet: Earth Day Celebration
Brandywine Zoo, 1001 North Park Drive, Wilmington – 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
What can you do to help save species? Learn about what you can do to make every day Earth Day during this special event. Event free of charge.

Down to Earth Hike
Cape Henlopen State Park, 15099 Cape Henlopen Drive, Lewes – 11 a.m.
Celebrate Earth Day with a hike searching for early spring plants and animals. Dress to explore outside. For ages 7 and older with an adult. Limit 20. Pre-registration recommended; call 302-645-6852. Event free of charge.

 

Monday, April 22 (Official Earth Day)

Earth Day Volunteer Project
Killens Pond State Park, 5025 Killens Pond Road, Felton – 10 a.m. – noon
Meet at the nature center and give back this Earth Day. Please wear close-toed shoes, bring a water bottle and dress for the weather. Gloves and tools will be provided. Please register online at destateparks.com/Volunteer. For more information please contact: Volunteer Manager Alison Romano, at Alison.Romano@delaware.gov or 302-900-1423.

Earth Day Coast-to-Coast Clean-Up
Delaware Seashore State Park, Rehoboth Beach – 10 a.m.
Help keep Delaware Seashore clean from coast to coast! Meet at the Indian River Life-Saving Station for a staff-led beach clean-up, then travel to Savages Ditch to clean up debris found in the salt marsh. Preregistration required; call 302-227-6991.

If These Trees Could Talk Walking Tour
First State Heritage Park, Dover, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Travel around The Green and experience some natural history, tree identification, and hear some of the events to which these trees have borne witness. Walking tours leave from the John Bell House on the hour and last approximately 45 minutes. Event free of charge. For information, call 302-739-9194.

Earth Day Hike
Trap Pond State Park, 33587 Bald Cypress Lane, Laurel – 5 p.m.
Join a park naturalist at the nature center for a hike to celebrate Earth Day. Event free of charge. For information, call 302-875-5153.

Earth Day Hike
Brandywine Creek State Park, 41 Adams Dam Road, Wilmington – 5 p.m.
Join us as we enjoy this leisurely hike through the park. The meadows will be blooming, birds will be chirping, and we will be basking in the beauty of the park! Hike will be approximately one hour. Event free of charge; park entrance fees in effect. For information, call 302-655-5740.

 

Wednesday, April 24

Stroll with the Superintendent at Yorklyn Bridge
Auburn Valley State Park, Yorklyn – 10 a.m.
Join Auburn Valley State Park Superintendent Laura Lee to explore the historic Yorklyn industrial district. Meet at the Yorklyn Bridge Trail parking lot. For information, call 302-239-5687. Event free of charge.

 

Saturday, April 27

Pre-Order Compost Bin Sale Distribution
Blue Hen Corporate Center, 655 South Bay Road, Dover – 8 a.m. – noon
(Adjacent to the Delaware Solid Waste Authority’s Collection Event)
DNREC’s Recycling Program is offering compost bins that can be pre-ordered online at a discount price of $50, half the retail price of the bins. The bins must be picked up by the purchaser at any of three locations: Dover, Lewes, and Delaware City. The Dover pick up is on April 27, while the other pick up locations are later in spring and early summer. Deadline to order compost bins for Dover pickup is Friday, April 19. To order, visit www.enviroworld.us/delaware. For more information, call 302-739-9403.

Wild About Whales Earth Week Program
DuPont Nature Center, 2992 Lighthouse Road, Milford – 11 a.m.
Did you know that whale poop is beneficial in many marine environments? In honor of the 2019 Earth Day theme – Protecting our Species – we will learn about whales and how they are interconnected with so many of our ocean species and ecosystems. Preregistration is requested by calling 302-422-1329 or emailing Lynne.Pusey@delaware.gov.

To see all of DNREC’s Earth Day events take a look at our Departmental Earth Day Calendar Page.

Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 49, No. 101