was one of the earliest urban developments in the state. The population of the
city rose dramatically in the 1800s, reaching its peak in the mid- 1900s. Much
of the sewer construction occurred during this period of rapid growth and was
essential to control of disease.
In common with other similarly developing urban centers, the sewers of Wilmington
were designed to carry both storm water and sewage, which then emptied directly
into the Christina River and Brandywine creek. Inevitably, these local streams became
overly polluted. Sewage treatment was introduced in Wilmington in 1954 in response
to this problem. The sewer system was modified to divert all of the dry weather
sewage, and a substantial portion of the combined sewage during storms, to the
new treatment plant. The condition of the local streams improved dramatically.
City of Wilmington formed its Public Works Department in 1887.