Two new 24-inch pressurized water mains are being buried 8-feet below Brandywine Creek in Wilmington, Delaware, taking drinking water from one side of the city to the other. Once the two new water mains are in place, the old water mains will be removed. Those large pipes, when installed in 1914, form a dam across the creek. Once the old water mains and the dam are removed, fish will be able to swim upstream to spawn. That in itself will not bring back the shad and other fish that were so abundant more than a century ago, but it is a step in the right direction. The new steel pipes have an estimated life of 150 years!
On Thursday, March 28, 2019, the Delaware Nature Society hosted a tour of this dam removal work. Something like forty people attended. Of those, I was gratified to find that I knew three, including Eric Russell, one of the owners of Colourworks Photographic Services and a long-time associate of mine. Because his business is in an old mill just downstream from the work site, he wanted to learn more about the work. Colourworks has rotating photo exhibits that make it worth a visit.
If my notes are correct, $2.7 million dollars are being spent on the project. Six days previously, a rain storm tripled the usual flow of water in the creek. It was flowing at three billion gallons a day which is about 4,500 cubic feet of water per second. No explosives are being used, but drills are, enough to break up the bedrock into boulders weighing no more than 30 tons. Those are small enough for the equipment to move.
- Brandywine Shad 2020
- Delaware Watersheds
- Clean Water: Delaware’s Clear Choice campaign
- Water Resources Center of the University of Delaware
- Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed
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