Keeping the river rolling: How the Clean Water Act helped revive the Delaware

Listen 13:34
People now use the Delaware for recreation, like these visitors to Spruce Street Harbor Park. Prior to the Clean Water Act, the Delaware River was so polluted no one would have considered basking so close to it. But the regulation has not been updated for decades, and scientists say hidden dangers to fish and wildlife still exist. (Brandon Eastwood for WHYY)

People now use the Delaware for recreation, like these visitors to Spruce Street Harbor Park. Prior to the Clean Water Act, the Delaware River was so polluted no one would have considered basking so close to it. But the regulation has not been updated for decades, and scientists say hidden dangers to fish and wildlife still exist. (Brandon Eastwood for WHYY)

Next time you’re on the banks of the Delaware River — taking in one of the new parks, visiting the Seaport Museum, or strolling along Penn’s Landing — consider that none of it would have been possible without the help of the Clean Water Act of 1972. Fifty years ago, the Delaware River was considered a dead river. On this episode of The Why, we talk to WHYY reporters Dana Bate and Susan Phillips about their series on the rebirth of the river, and why it faces new threats today.

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