News Flash

Executive - Press Release

Posted on: April 20, 2023

County Executive Meyer announces new wastewater testing program

New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer announced a new partnership with Delaware’s Department of Health and Social Services and Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH) to monitor wastewater in New Castle County for fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamine, nicotine, and their metabolites in locations throughout the County’s sewer system. The current data can be reviewed at


“Through the pandemic, New Castle County relied on data provided by our extensive research with our public works team and Biobot to help us choose testing locations, focus PPE distribution sites, and vaccination clinics,” said County Executive Meyer. “We’re now excited to take these resources and focus our research on opioid and fentanyl epidemics to gain a clearer understanding of where we should deploy resources and training and further education. We are thankful for the partnership with DSAMH and the Department of Health and Social Services to continue our research of wastewater,” said County Executive Meyer.


Through the work of Senior Lieutenant Allen Herring and Senior Sergeant James Wilson of the New Castle County police department, New Castle County was awarded a Tier Award to research wastewater for traces of the illicit substances in up to 20 locations throughout New Castle County. The project will be funded as part of DSAMH's federal Statewide Opioid Response grant. 


"Water testing is another way that we can monitor the level of dangerous drug consumption in the community," said Joanna Champney, Director of the Delaware Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health. "Tracking the number of overdoses, arrests and the number of people entering addiction treatment only paints part of the picture. By comparing metabolized drug levels in the water over time, it's another way to assess whether our prevention and addiction treatment efforts are working. Our new Opioid Response Center will benefit from this additional data from the water. It will help inform which areas in our community could benefit from more outreach about accessing addiction treatment."  


Research results will be shared on a joint dashboard between New Castle County and DHSS that will be created by Delaware-based Tech Impact. The pilot program will run April until the end of September.



Sewer samples to be analyzed for drug activity, other health concerns

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