The History of the Environmental Laboratory

The Delaware Environmental Laboratory has been helping with the protection of Delaware’s public health and the environment since it came into being in support of the Water Pollution Commission.

The Delaware Water Pollution Control Act of 1949 established the Water Pollution Commission “to maintain within its jurisdiction a reasonable quality of water consistent with public health and public enjoyment thereof, the propagation and protection of fish and wildlife, including birds, mammals and other terrestrial and aquatic life and the industrial development of the State.”

From 1949 to 1965, the Water Pollution Commission performed a variety of environmental surveillance and testing throughout Delaware at the environmental laboratory within the Jesse S. Cooper Building.

In 1966, the Water and Air Resources Act abolished the Water Pollution Commission and created the Water and Air Resources Commission. The Laboratory Division was created as part of the new Commission to continue environmental surveillance and testing throughout the state.

During the 125th General Assembly (1969 – 1970), the Water and Air Resources Commission transformed into the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), establishing the Environmental Laboratory Section.

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