I live across the street from a factory. How can I get more information on whether they are operating properly?
The first place to start is the Delaware Environmental Navigator. From the Data View, type in the factory’s name where indicated. At the bottom of your screen, you will see a listing of facilities that match the name you typed in. Select “Go” under Data View and you will be able to get information on the facility’s various permits and violations. The Environmental Navigator also allows you to identify facilities and contaminated properties in and around your home by using the Map View.
If you want to be informed when there is a chemical spill or release of an air pollutant that exceeds Delaware’s reporting requirements for an individual factory or all the facilities in your area, sign up for the Delaware Environmental Release Notification System. This system allows you to pick the facilities you are interested in and receive a phone call, e-mail or fax every time there is a reportable release.
If you are interested in a facility’s violations, check the Department’s online Notice of Violations database. For civil and administrative enforcement actions, check the Administrative and Civil Enforcement Actions database. And finally, for criminal actions, check the Criminal Enforcement Action database.
If the databases above do not provide you with the information you wanted, you may wish to consider filing a Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, request.
What exactly causes the "Ozone Alerts" I hear about in the summertime?
High concentrations of ground-level ozone can form on hot, still summer days. High levels of ozone make it difficult for people with respiratory problems to breath. When ozone is predicted to reach levels that can impact health, an “Ozone Alert” is issued for the next day and is generally broadcast on radio and TV weather reports, as well as in the newspaper. The Air Quality Management Section's web pages provide information on ozone. For today’s Ozone Forecast, go to AirNow or the Delaware Valley Air Quality Index website. And, to find actual ozone levels in your area, check Delaware’s Air Quality Monitoring Network.
I hear a lot about acid rain. What is acid rain and what causes it?
"Acid rain" is a broad term used to describe several ways that acids fall out of the atmosphere. A more precise term is acid deposition, which has two parts: wet and dry. Wet deposition refers to acidic rain, fog, and snow. As this acidic water flows over and through the ground, it affects a variety of plants and animals. Dry deposition refers to acidic gases and particles. About half of the acidity in the atmosphere falls back to earth through dry deposition. The wind blows these acidic particles and gases onto buildings, cars, homes, and trees. Scientists discovered, and have confirmed, that sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) are the primary causes of acid rain. In the U.S., about two-thirds of all SO2 and a quarter of all NOx comes from electric power generation that relies on burning fossil fuels like coal. To find out more about acid rain, go to EPA’s Acid Rain website.
Why can't I burn leaves and trash?
Burning leaves and trash is illegal at all times in Delaware. Open burning of fallen branches, limbs or shrubs, and camp/cooking fires are allowed at certain times of the year. For more information, see The Citizens Guide to Open Burning.
I saw someone throwing a lot of old tires and junk out of the back of a pickup truck into some woods. Should I report this? YES! When you see a violation such as this, call 1.800.662.8802 and report it. The dispatcher will take the necessary information (where/when it occurred, etc.) and inform the Division’s Environmental Enforcement Officers who will investigate it.
How do I get rid of a lot of old paint, lawn chemicals, and other household cleaners?
The Delaware Solid Waste Authority has a program for disposing of household hazardous wastes. For information, including collection locations and times, please call the DSWA at 1.800.404.7080, or go to the DSWA web site.
Where is the recycling center nearest to my house?
To find a listing of recycling centers throughout the state, go to the Delaware Solid Waste Authority’s website. This site also includes information on what can be recycled in Delaware.
I want to buy a farm, but it has an old underground gas tank. Would I be responsible if it leaks? How do I get rid of it?
You could be held responsible. Before you sign any papers, please read Buying or Selling Property with Underground Storage Tanks. For further information, please call the Tanks Management Section at 302.395.2500.
Is my home's heating oil tank supposed to be registered with the state?
Only if it holds 1,100 gallons or more. For more information, please read Requirements for Heating Oil Tanks.