Water Infrastructure Advisory Council meeting set for August 17 in Dover

DOVER – The Delaware Water Infrastructure Advisory Council (WIAC) will hold its next meeting, beginning at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 17 at the Delaware Technical and Community College, Corporate Training Center, Terry Campus, 100 Campus Drive, Dover, Del.19904.


WIAC – informational

  • New Council member – Ralph Cetrulo
  • Presentations – Community Water Quality Improvement Grant project implementations
  • Clean Water and Flood Abatement Task Force update
  • Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) FY 2016 state matching funds for federal capitalization grants

New Business

  • CWSRF Loan Requests – Town of Bridgeville
  • Wastewater and Surface Water Matching Planning Grant Requests
  • Draft Proposed Guidelines – CWSRF and DWSRF Subsidies for Privately Owned Utilities


  • Administrators’ reports
    • CWSRF Project Status Update
    • Financial Reports
    • CWSRF and DWSRF Cash Flow Models
  • Subcommittees’ reports
    • Wastewater
    • Drinking Water
    • Surface Water Management
    • Finance

Meeting Preview – Feb. 15, 2017

  • Assessment of the Asset Management Development Program – 5 completed studies

Public Comment


For more information about the WIAC, please call 302-739-9941.

Media Contact: Melanie Rapp, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 46, No. 275

Governor Markell Issues Limited State of Emergency in Sussex County

Coastal flood warnings in effect along Atlantic Coast and Delaware Bay

Wilmington, DE – With moderate to major coastal flooding expected at high tides today and tomorrow, along with high wind warnings along the coast, Governor Jack Markell has issued a Limited State of Emergency for Sussex County, effective immediately.  State offices will remain open and no driving restrictions are being implemented, however localized road closures may occur as conditions warrant it.  See full text below.

Residents of flood-prone areas of Sussex County and throughout Delaware are at risk of significant flooding and residents of those areas should seriously consider taking precautionary measures, including evacuating voluntarily or planning for potential evacuation and use of travel routes around flooded streets and roads.  A list of flood-prone areas is included below.

“Though predicted rainfall totals have dropped and the expected path of Hurricane Joaquin remains well off-coast, high winds and coastal flooding will significantly impact Sussex County,” said Governor Markell. “State and local officials are taking the necessary steps to prepare for possible evacuations and road closures and the National Guard has been deployed to Kent and Sussex Counties to support those efforts, as needed. Residents in flood-prone areas of the state should prepare accordingly and continue to monitor communications from state and local agencies for updates.”


Flood-Prone Areas of Sussex County

Sussex County Delaware Bay Communities

Slaughter Beach

Prime Hook Beach

Broadkill Beach

Lewes Beach, east of the Rehoboth Lewes canal


Sussex County Ocean Coastal Communities

Areas within ¾ of a mile of the coast in the following communities:

Henlopen Acres

Rehoboth Beach

Dewey Beach

North Bethany

Bethany Beach

South Bethany

Fenwick Island


Sussex County Inland Bay Communities

Areas surrounding the Rehoboth Bay, Indian River and Little Assawoman Bay

Flood-prone areas south of Route 24 (John J. Williams Highway) including Angola, Long Neck and Oak Orchard

Flood-prone areas along Route 26 (Vines Creek Road and Atlantic Avenue)

Flood-prone areas along Route 54 (Lighthouse Road)


Sussex County Western Communities

Flood-prone areas in close proximity to the Nanticoke and Broad Creek Rivers

WHEREAS, as of Friday, October 2, 2015, a Nor’easter system has affected the State of Delaware and is projected to continue to impact the State as Hurricane Joaquim moves north and interacts with the system, and

WHEREAS, rain and high tides from that system have resulted in flooding conditions in Sussex County, Delaware; and

WHEREAS, weather conditions throughout Sussex County and continuing for the remainder of the week and into the weekend may continue to exacerbate said flooding; and

WHEREAS, the effects of this storm system threaten public safety and have the potential to cause major damage to the infrastructure of Sussex County; and

WHEREAS, based upon evidence presented to me by the Delaware Emergency Management Agency, I have found that the potential for the occurrence of an emergency is high in Sussex County; and

WHEREAS, flood-prone areas of Sussex County and throughout Delaware are at risk of significant flooding, and residents of those areas should seriously consider taking precautionary measures, including evacuating voluntarily or planning for potential evacuation and use of travel routes around flooded streets and roads; and

WHEREAS, it is necessary to pre-stage and potentially deploy resources and assets of the Delaware National Guard in anticipation of responding to any such threats to public safety;

NOW THEREFORE, I, JACK A. MARKELL, pursuant to Title 20, Chapter 31 of the Delaware Code, do hereby declare a Limited State of Emergency for Sussex County, Delaware.  This Limited State of Emergency is effective on October 2, 2015, as of 12:00 p.m.  The nature of the emergency is flooding and its potential effects caused by the storm beginning October 1, 2015, and continuing thereafter.  Along with such other actions authorized by Title 20, Chapter 31 of the Delaware Code, I specifically direct and authorize:

  1. All departments and agencies of the State of Delaware shall assist in response and recovery activities, as directed by and in coordination with the Delaware Emergency Management Agency, necessary in those areas of Sussex County affected by the storm.
  1. The Delaware National Guard shall take precautionary or responsive actions directed by the Director of the Delaware Emergency Management Agency, in consultation with the Secretary of Safety and Homeland Security, upon request by local authorities in impacted areas of Sussex County.
  1. The Delaware Emergency Management Agency shall activate the State Emergency Operations Plan and cooperate with federal authorities, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency in making application, if necessary for relief and assistance for those towns and communities adversely affected by the continuing storms, pursuant to the Delaware Emergency Operations Plan and any potentially applicable federal disaster or emergency relief laws, including but not limited to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.
  1. Unless otherwise directed, all normal operations of State government shall continue without interruption.
  1. I reserve the right to take, or direct state or local authorities to take, without issuance of further written order, any other necessary actions authorized by Title 20, Chapter 31 of the Delaware Code to respond to this emergency.

Approved this 2nd day of October, 2015, at 12:00 p.m.

Public Health Stormy Weather Tips

Dover – With the potential for heavy rain and high winds this weekend, the Division of Public Health (DPH) reminds Delawareans to stay safe and healthy, and to protect their pets using these tips:

Food Safety
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends stocking a three-day supply of non-perishable food. If you lose electrical power, be very cautious with refrigerated foods. Do not rely on appearance or odor of food; use a freezer thermometer. If the freezer thermometer reads 40 degrees F or below, the food is safe and may be refrozen. If the food still contains ice crystals or is 40 degrees F or below, it is safe to refreeze or cook. Perishable food such as meat, poultry, seafood, milk, and eggs not kept adequately refrigerated or frozen may cause illness, even when thoroughly cooked.

Keeping refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible will keep food cold for about four hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs or leftovers) that has been above 40 degrees F for two hours or more.

If you plan to eat refrigerated or frozen meat, poultry, fish or eggs kept at safe temperatures, cook the food thoroughly to the proper temperature to kill bacteria. Fifty pounds of dry ice should keep an 18-cubic foot fully-stocked freezer cold for two days.

Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with flood water. Food containers with screw-caps, snap lids, pull tops, and crimped caps are not considered waterproof. Also, discard cardboard juice/milk/baby formula boxes and home canned foods if they have come in contact with flood water. Discard canned foods with swelling, leakage, punctures, holes, fractures, extensive deep rusting, or dents that prevent normal stacking or opening.

Flood Waters
Avoid flood waters whenever possible. Do not allow children to play in or around storm water collection drains or any flood waters. Drainage areas may have swift currents that can create a drowning hazard. Flood waters may also transmit disease and cause serious illness. In some locations, during periods of heavy rain, raw sewage overflows contaminate storm water systems. Additionally, storm water runoff may be contaminated with chemicals and fecal matter from pets or agricultural animals. A common source of Clostridium tetani, the bacteria that causes tetanus, is human feces. Contaminated floodwaters may also contain infectious strains of E. coli, such as antibiotic resistant E. coli.
For fact sheets on flood preparedness and recovery, visit the DPH website for more information.

Safe Drinking Water
FEMA recommends stocking one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation. If you are advised to boil your drinking water, heat water at the highest possible temperature so that it bubbles constantly (a rolling boil). Continue to boil water for one minute, and then let it cool. Store in clean, covered containers. Residents can also disinfect water using household bleach. Add 1/8 teaspoon (or 8 drops) of regular, unscented, liquid household bleach for each gallon of water. Stir it well and let it stand for 30 minutes before using it. Bottled water is another safe alternative.

For bottle feeding infants, use prepared, canned baby formula that requires no added water. When using concentrated or powdered formulas, prepare with bottled water if the local water source is potentially contaminated. Wash fruits and vegetables with water from a safe source before eating.

For information on safe drinking water, visit the DPH website here.

Avoid Carbon Monoxide
A common source of fatalities during and after storms is carbon monoxide poisoning. Released from gasoline-powered generators, camp stoves, grills, lanterns and charcoal-burning devices are designed for outdoor use only. Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas that can be lethal at high levels. If combustion devices are used indoors, dangerous CO levels can build up rapidly with no warning. Never use them inside and always ensure that any outside use is well-ventilated.

Keeping up with your Neighbor and Loved Ones
If you or a loved one has special needs or lives alone, make sure your support network is ready and you have someone checking in regularly if you need assistance. Ensure you have enough medication, oxygen, medical supplies, and food for any special dietary needs, particularly if your transportation options are limited over the weekend.

If you receive home health care, contact your home health care provider and ask how bad weather impacts their schedule and their plans for reaching you.

For further information on preparations for people with disabilities and special needs visit the Red Cross website here.

Pet Safety
Keep your pets indoors and with you. Bring your pet inside immediately at the first sign or warning of a storm or severe weather. Never leave a pet outside, either chained or loose. Pets are likely to become frightened, wander away from home, and hide during severe weather. They can become lost, injured, or even killed. Check your pet supplies to ensure that you have enough food, water, and any necessary medications or other requirements for at least three days.

Identify safe interior spaces for your pets, away from windows. Create a comfortable area with their favorite bedding and toys. Consider separating dogs and cats to minimize stress and conflict.

When walking dogs, stay close to home in protected areas and avoid flooding. Watch for potential flying debris or falling branches. Keep an eye on the ground for possible downed power lines or other dangerous objects. If the wind speed is too dangerous, provide paper or pads inside for your dog to use instead of going outside.

For Delaware storm updates, visit: http://www.dema.delaware.gov/.

For emergency preparedness kit tips, visit: http://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit.

For ongoing DPH health and safety-related storm tips, visit us on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/DEPublicHealth.

Individuals seeking TTY services should call 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460. A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind, or speech-disabled can use a TTY to type his/her conversation to a relay operator, who then reads the typed conversation to a hearing person at the DPH call center. The relay operator relays the hearing person’s spoken words by typing them back to the TTY user. To learn more about translation services and TTY availability in Delaware, visit delawarerelay.com.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.

DNREC announces new flood risk maps for New Castle County become effective February 4

DOVER – DNREC’s Division of Watershed Stewardship announced today that new flood risk maps for New Castle County will be released by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on February 4. The maps can be found online at http://msc.fema.gov/portal.

Over the past 10 years, DNREC, through its Division of Watershed Stewardship, has worked with FEMA to improve the accuracy of flood risk maps statewide through a Cooperating Technical Partnership. The new flood risk maps for Kent County became effective in July 2014, and new Sussex County maps will be released on March 16. Those maps can also be found at http://msc.fema.gov/portal.

The New Castle County maps reflect several additions and changes from previous flood risk maps. New flood zones and base flood elevations have been established along the Delaware River and all tidal areas, following completion of a coastal flood study by the US Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA. In addition, watershed studies in the Appoquinimink, Red Clay Creek, White Clay Creek, Mill Creek and Belltown Run Watersheds that were performed by DNREC under a partnership agreement with FEMA are shown on the maps.

“Hydrologic studies that determine water flows, base flood elevations and accurate floodplain boundaries were performed by DNREC on about 30 miles of waterways in the Appoquinimink Watershed,” said Michael Powell, program manager for DNREC’s Division of Watershed Stewardship. “With these results, base flood elevations for many areas are now shown on FEMA’s maps for the first time, providing property owners with more detailed and accurate flood risk assessments.”

The flood risk maps are used by insurance companies to establish property rates and by local communities to enforce local floodplain codes. In conjunction with the release of the new flood risk maps, several communities in New Castle County have recently amended local codes to adopt higher floodplain development standards. Many of these higher standards – such as first-floor freeboard (building living space to a margin of safety above predicted flood levels), and limiting development in floodplains and flood resistant foundation designs – were recommended by the Delaware Floodplain and Drainage Advisory Committee, formed as a result of Senate Bill 64, which supports more effective floodplain management standards.

“Many of these higher standards – especially establishing at least 18 inches of freeboard and siting new buildings away from high risk floodplains – can result in significantly lower flood insurance premiums for property owners,” Powell said.

FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program makes flood insurance available to local property owners. Mortgage lenders require borrowers whose properties are located in a designated special flood hazard area to purchase flood insurance as a condition of receiving a federally backed mortgage loan in accordance with the Federal Disaster Protection Act of 1973. Over the past several years, DNREC has helped several Delaware communities join the National Flood Insurance Program.

Standard homeowners insurance does not cover damage incurred by flooding, however, all property owners can purchase flood insurance. Homeowners interested in how the proposed changes could impact the cost of their flood insurance premium should contact their insurance agent.

For information on the flood risk maps, contact Michael Powell or Greg Williams, DNREC Division of Watershed Stewardship at (302) 739-9921. For information on the DNREC’s flood mitigation program, please visit DNREC’s website at http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/swc/Drainage/Pages/Flooding.aspx.

Media Contact: Melanie Rapp, Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 45, No. 23

Consumer Alert: Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart Shares Useful Information in Preparation for an Active Hurricane Season

Hurricane season is less than a month away. According to Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart, now is the time to prepare. The Weather Channel released its first 2013 Atlantic hurricane season outlook, calling for another active season. Last year, there were nineteen named storms, ten hurricanes and two major hurricanes, the most destructive of which was Super Storm Sandy which swept through the East Coast of the United States in late October. Many property owners do not know the basics about flooding or flood insurance. To make informed decisions, residents and business owners need a solid understanding of their flood risk and how flood insurance can help. The following are important facts and figures gathered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) which may serve to be useful information to help reduce the financial impact of flooding:

  • Federal disaster assistance is usually provided in the form of a loan that must be paid back with interest along with any existing mortgage.
  • Flood losses in the United States averaged $2.9 billion per year for the last decade.
  • Nearly 75 percent of all federally declared disasters over the past five years involved flooding.
  • Floods are the number one natural disaster in the United States.
  • Everyone is at risk-even those that do not live close to rivers and lakes. Floods happen as a result of heavy rains, snow melt, overloaded drainage systems, land development runoff, and for many more reasons. Just an inch of water can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage to your home and its contents.
  • Most homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage.
  • Over the life of a 30-year loan, your home, if located in a high-risk flood area, is more likely to be damaged by flood than by fire.
  • More than five million Americans are protected with flood insurance, but millions more are unaware of their personal risk for property damage-or options for reducing that risk.
  • Property owners, renters, and business owners can purchase flood insurance on their building and contents if their community is among the more than 21,800 communities that participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
  • It typically takes 30 days after the purchase of flood insurance for the policy to take effect.
  • The average premium is around $640 a year; the average claim in the past five years was more than $35,000.
  • More than 20 percent of all flood claims come from areas mapped outside high-risk flood zones.
  • Qualifying properties in moderate- to low-risk areas are eligible for the low-cost Preferred Risk Policy with premiums as low as $129 a year for $20,000 in building and $8,000 in contents coverage.
  • Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart would like all Delawareans to be safe and be informed. Commissioner Stewart expressed that, “Being prepared in case of a natural disaster can save lives, property and a lot of heartache. The planning that homeowners and business owners do can keep a natural disaster from becoming an insurance disaster.” For more on flood insurance and flood risk information, visit http://www.FloodSmart.gov/facts. Also, visit our website for information related to storm preparedness: http://www.delawareinsurance.gov/departments/consumer/StormPrepare.shtml