DNREC announces release of preliminary data from USGS unconfined aquifer water quality study

DOVER – The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Division of Water today announced the release of preliminary data from the ongoing United States Geological Survey (USGS) unconfined aquifer water quality study in Delaware.

The USGS is in the process of completing the third in a series of ongoing studies conducted over the past 20 years. These studies focused on the ground water quality in a selection of public water systems statewide. Started in 2000, the USGS studies have been designed to assess existing raw-water quality relative to established drinking water standards and emerging interests. In each iteration, the study has included analytes beyond the standard regulatory scope with the addition of per- and poly-fluorinated substances (PFAS) in the current effort.

Consistent with the previous studies, specific compounds were detected above standards at a few locations. DNREC’s review of this preliminary data indicates that overall water quality in the State of Delaware is generally good in respect to the broad suite of compounds detected. PFAS were detected in isolated locations which shows similar distribution to other emerging compounds in the past. Of the 30 sampling locations, PFAS was identified in the unconfined aquifer water above the current Federal Health Advisory Limit (HAL) of 70 parts per trillion in only two isolated locations. In both instances, DNREC, in conjunction with the Department of Health and Social Service’s Office of Drinking Water (DHSS-ODW), and the water providers, confirmed that treated water quality meets the drinking water standards, including the unregulated compounds. While the sampling was done at locations of public wells, the USGS results reflect unconfined aquifer water prior to any treatment supplied by water utilities, and do not reflect served water quality.

While the USGS is in the process of finalizing the report, verified preliminary data can now be accessed by the public through the National Water Information System (NWIS). It is anticipated that the USGS study summarizing the results of their analysis of over 500 compounds will be completed in the spring of 2020. This data, in comparison with the results from the 2000 and 2008 studies, will provide a detailed baseline of water quality in the unconfined aquifer throughout the state that can be used by DNREC and partnering agencies in making water resource management decisions.

CONTACT: Michael Globetti or Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

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State Treasurer’s Office Brings Tableau Day to Delaware

Event encourages innovation in government

State Treasurer Colleen C. Davis, along with the University of Delaware and Tableau Software, a leading visual analytics platform, hosted an event for state government and university participants today. The event promoted data gathering and governance, while sharing interactive tools and visualization opportunities through engaging use case presentations from Delaware partners and hands-on trainings for beginner and intermediate users.

“Tableau Day is a great step in making data work for the residents of our state. Walking away from this event, participants can better gather and govern data, and they can take those rows of numbers and translate data into something easy for the public to understand, and use,” said Treasurer Davis.

The event was attended more than 75 participants across more than a dozen agencies of state government and the University of Delaware participants. Tableau Day featured presentations from the Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families (DSCYF), the University of Delaware, and the Office of the State Treasurer. Tableau led trainings for participants, and Navigator Management Software shared advice and examples of visual analytics use within public entities while promoting data governance.

In April, the Office of the State Treasurer released their interactive Available Income Calculator, created by staff using Tableau. The tool is hosted on Tableau Public, allowing other jurisdictions to use the framework and insert their own consumer data and tax information to make the tool specific to their residents. Since its release, the tool has been used more than 8,000 times.

“The success of the Available Income Calculator is a testament to the State of Delaware’s strong commitment to extending data transparency to their residents,” said Steve Spano, Regional Vice President, Public Sector at Tableau. “We’re delighted to team up with the Treasurer’s office to help other organizations around the state see and understand their data, and use visual data stories to communicate more effectively with their residents.”

Visual analytics products aim to make data useful, internally helping with measurement and decision-making, and externally providing a medium through which the complex can be made simple and readily available for residents. The University of Delaware presented on their efforts to create internal dashboards, while the DSCYF discussed the dashboards they created and have shared with the public to track and visualize data and performance of various programs overtime.

“With respect to technology, government is often viewed as being behind the private sector,” said Susan Steward, Office of the State Treasurer and a Tableau user. “But today we’ve proven that government is moving to the forefront of innovation in order to empower residents to interact with the state.”


State releases updates to Delaware Report Card

On-demand translation and printable snapshots are among new upgrades released today to the Delaware Report Card.

 

The Delaware Department of Education launched the Delaware Report Card (reportcard.doe.k12.de.us), a more consumer-friendly site to provide important educational information to Delaware families, last year. Designed for families to find important information with ease, the Delaware Report Card replaced the state’s school profiles site. The upgrades released today are part of continuous efforts to make enhancements and improvements to the site.

 

The latest changes and additions to the site include:

  • On-demand translation available for all information on the site in four languages
  • Downloadable/printable snapshot overviews for all schools, districts and the state
  • New data about students’ college and career preparedness as well as educator information coming next week
  • Data showing student growth in English language arts and math, complementing the proficiency data previously available
  • 2019 federal accountability results

 

Find more information on the Delaware Report Card here.

 

The department will continue to collect feedback through the contact link on the report card homepage. The link also can be used to submit general questions or comments.

 

As data is added to the Delaware Report Card it also may be added to the Open Data Portal, which provides researchers easier access to downloadable data to support their needs. Learn more about other recent additions to that site here.

 

Media contact: Alison May, alison.may@doe.k12.de.us, 302-735-4006

 


Department of Education to release millions of new records to open data portal

The Delaware Department of Education (DDOE) is releasing close to 10 million new data records to Delaware’s Open Data Portal. The current DDOE education data sets will be replaced by 15 new sets covering both educator and student aggregate data spanning 2015-2019. This data release greatly expands the education data provided on the portal and is designed to allow for deeper and more comprehensive analysis.

 

“Researchers and members of the public frequently request these data sets for their own analysis. Until now, that meant submitting a work request to the department as well as a time and cost burden for both the requester and our staff. I’m so excited that the public now will have open access to such deep and rich information,” Secretary of Education Susan Bunting said.

 

The Delaware Department of Education is a member of the Delaware Open Data Council, which brings together leaders from across state government focused specifically on making more data available to members of the public. The council is tasked with managing the Open Data Portal, promoting open data, establishing a statewide data strategy, and recommending data standards for public data.

 

A breakdown of the records being released is included in the table below. The release also will allow users to sort data by multiple demographic indicators. For example, under the current demographic summaries, a user can filter by two factors. For example, one can look at assessment results by grade and race. The new data sets will allow a user to filter by multiple demographic combinations. For example, one could look at assessment results by grade, race, gender and special population at the same time. The new data sets also will include a consistent key that allows users to connect data sets to provide more context.

 

“Open data is a powerful tool for community members to better understand and make decisions about the communities that they live in. The Department of Education’s launch of comprehensive datasets represents a major step forward in empowering community members to make decisions for themselves by using aggregated student and educator performance data,” said Ryan Harrington, co-founder of Open Data Delaware.

 

Media is invited to join the Delaware Department of Education and Open Data Delaware at 6 p.m. Thursday, October 10 at the Kingswood Community Center, 2300 Bowers St. in Wilmington, for the release. Representatives from DDOE’s Data Management and Analytics team will be on hand to provide information about the data sets as well as answer questions.

 

New Open Data Portal Files and Records

Name Description Years
Educator – Average Salary This dataset contains average total, federal, state, and local salaries for full-time staff. In addition, this file provides the number of full-time equivalent positions in each organization, average years of experience, as well as average years of age 2015-2019
Educator – Characteristics This dataset contains counts of full-time staff in each organization 2015-2019
Educator – Mobility This dataset contains retention, transfer, and turnover rates for full-time staff. In addition, this file provides one through five year rates for each mobility category 2015-2019
Educator – Salary Distribution This dataset contains salary distribution information for full-time staff 2015-2019
Educator – Education Level This dataset contains salary matrix by educational level and experience for full-time staff 2015-2019
Student – Assessment Participation This file contains the number of eligible students, tested students, and the corresponding participation rate for the key annual assessments administered during a given school year 2015-2019
Student – Assessment Performance This file contains the number of tested students, proficient students, and the corresponding proficiency rate for the key annual assessments administered during a given school year 2015-2019
Student – Attendance This file contains the number of actively enrolled students (as of June), their average days of enrollment, average days absent, and the percentage of students deemed chronically absent within a given school year 2015-2019
Student – Discipline This file contains the number of students who have received at least one disciplinary action of in-school suspension, out-of-school suspension, or expulsion within a given school year 2015-2019
Student – Dropout This file contains the number of students reported as part of the official dropout statistics within a given school year. The file contains the number of dropouts, the students enrolled and the corresponding dropout rate 2015-2017
Student – Enrollment This file contains both the fall and end-of-year enrollment statistics within a given school year 2015-2019
Student – Graduation This file contains the number of students and the corresponding graduation rate of students who receive a regular high school diploma at the end of their high school matriculation 2015-2017
Student – Growth This file contains the average percent of growth targets met as reported in the Delaware School Success Framework. 2018-2019

 

Media contact: Alison May, alison.may@doe.k12.de.us, (302) 735-4006


U.S. Census of Agriculture data to assist decision making

DOVER, Del. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) Delaware office today announced the results of the 2017 Census of Agriculture with new information about 2,302 Delaware farms and ranches and those who operate them, including first-time data about on-farm decision making, at the state and county level.

“Agriculture continues to play an important role in Delaware’s economy. I want to thank all of our family farmers who took the time to participate in the 2017 U.S. Census of Agriculture,” said Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Michael T. Scuse. “The information our farmers provided in the Census will help local and federal legislators, businesses, and others make informed decisions, especially on federal programs, that will directly impact our farms.”

Census data provide valuable insights into demographics, economics, land and activities on U.S. farms and ranches. Some key state highlights include:

  • The average age of all producers (a person involved in making decisions for the farm operation) was 57.4 years of age.
  • The number of female producers increased by nearly 12 percent from 2012.
  • The per farm average net income increased from $130,842 in 2012 to $277,316 in 2017.

The new Census data also shows that agriculture remains Delaware’s largest single land use, with 42 percent of Delaware’s land (or 525,324 acres) in farms, up from 508,652 acres in 2012. Poultry production ranked first in the state for market value of agricultural products sold with more than $1.1 billion, with grains, oilseeds, dry beans, and dry peas; vegetables, melons, potatoes, and sweet potatoes; nursery, greenhouse, floriculture, and sod; and milk from cows rounding out the top five commodity areas.

“The Census shows new data that can be compared to previous censuses for insights into agricultural trends and changes down to the county level,” said NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “We are pleased to share first-time data on topics such as military status and on-farm decision making. To make it easier to delve into the data, we are pleased to make the results available in many online formats including a new data query interface, as well as traditional data tables.”

For the 2017 Census of Agriculture, NASS changed the demographic questions to better represent the roles of all persons involved in on-farm decision making. As a result, in 2017 the number of all producers in Delaware was 3,907 up from 3,789 producers in 2012.

Other demographic highlights include:

  • New and beginning producers with 10 years or less of farming comprised of 851 producers.
  • Published for the first time, producers with military service encompassed 390 producers.

The Census tells the story of American agriculture and is an important part of our history. First conducted in 1840 in conjunction with the decennial Census, the Census of Agriculture accounts for all U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. After 1920, the Ag Census happened every four to five years. By 1982, it was regularly conducted once every five years. Today, NASS sends questionnaires to nearly 3 million potential U.S. farms and ranches. Nearly 25 percent of those who responded did so online. Conducted since 1997 by USDA NASS – the federal statistical agency responsible for producing official data about U.S. agriculture – it remains the only source of comprehensive agricultural data for every state and county in the nation and is invaluable for planning the future.

Results are available in many online formats including video presentations, a new data query interface, maps, and traditional data tables. All Census of Agriculture information is available at www.nass.usda.gov/AgCensus.

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Media Contact: Stacey Hofmann, (302) 698-4542, Stacey.Hofmann@delaware.gov