Shellpot Creek

Watersheds of the Piedmont
Brandywine Creek | Christina River | Naamans’ Creek | Red Clay Creek | Shellpot Creek | White Clay Creek

The Shellpot Creek watershed is located in northeastern New Castle County. The six-mile long mainstem of the creek rises just north of Wilmington and flows southeast to the Delaware River. The total drainage area of the watershed is about 9,200 acres, nearly 15 square miles. Shellpot Creek is a tributary of the Delaware River and drains directly to the 13,000 sq. mi. Delaware River Basin. The lower one mile of the creek is tidal; the remainder of the watershed is freshwater non-tidal.
Land Uses
This watershed is the most suburbanized drainage area in the Piedmont Basin. Very little agriculture takes place in the watershed and a considerable portion is covered by impervious surfaces that promote rapid runoff. The watershed is highly urbanized; commercial, residential, and industrial land uses predominate. The town of Bellefonte is located in the watershed. No public water supply wells or Water Resource Protection Areas are found within this watershed.

Major highways that serve this area include I-95, I-495, Business Route 13 and Route 13. Important arteries include Marsh Road, Foulk Road, and portions of Harvey Road. Rail transportation crosses the area for the Conrail and Amtrak lines.
Nutrients and Bacteria
The TMDLs for the Shellpot Creek require a 35% reduction in nitrogen and phosphorus south of Business Route 13, a cap on nitrogen and phosphorus loads north of Business Route 13, a 74% reduction in bacteria, and a 28% reduction in bacteria from CSO 31.The Shellpot Creek watershed has the following use designations: Primary Contact Recreation, Secondary Contact Recreation, Fish, Aquatic Life, and Wildlife, Agricultural Water Supply for freshwater segments, and Industrial Water Supply.

Within Shellpot Creek, five point source facilities are located in the area east of Rt. 13 including the City of Wilmington, Conectiv Edge Moor Power Plant, IKO Mfg, Inc, Dupont Edge Moor, and Amtrak. However, most of their discharges go into the Delaware River. The only possible direct discharge to Shellpot Creek is from their storm water outfalls. In addition, one of City of Wilmington's Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO 31) is discharged into the Shellpot Creek.
The Shellpot Creek Watershed has a total of twenty-five sites listed in the Site Investigation and Restoration Section database. There are thirteen state-fund lead (HSCA) sites, seven sites in the Brownfield program and five Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP) sites.

Each of the sites is sampled through the programs listed above for a consistent suite of environmental contaminants. These contaminants are broadly classified as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), Semi-Volatile Organic Compounds (SVOCs), Pesticides, Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) and Metals as listed using USEPA and DNREC defined standards. When sites are adjacent to water bodies sediment samples are collected to assess potential impact from a site on the health of the waters.

In water bodies of the Shellpot Creek Watershed, samples have indicated that PCBs and chlordane are present in the environment at levels requiring further attention under the Clean Water Act (1972). The Shellpot Creek Watershed is on the 303d list of impaired waters as well as having State of Delaware Fish Consumption Advisories for PCBs and dieldrin.

If you would like to view reports for any of the sites in the SIRS program please follow the link the DNREC Environmental Navigator to search by map for the Shellpot Creek Watershed.
Geology and Soils
Almost all of the Shellpot Creek watershed is found within the Piedmont geologic province, composed of igneous rocks of the Wilmington Complex that generally have a low water-bearing capacity. However, the northwestern portion of the basin parallel to Concord Pike (Route 202) contains sediments of the Piedmont province in excess of 10 feet but less than 50 feet. Considered the Bryn Mawr Formation, these unconsolidated sediments do not yield significant quantities of groundwater due to their thinness and limited areal extent. The extreme southern part of the basin is located in the Atlantic Coastal Plain, composed of the Cretaceous-aged Potomac Formation and Quarternary-aged sediments. Slopes are moderate to steep.
Recreational Opportunities
The region is home to several large recreational facilities: Bellevue State Park, Fox Point State Park, Rockwood Museum, Bringhurst Woods Park, Rock Manor Golf Course and over 30 community parks. In total there are approximately 1,030 acres of land dedicated to public recreation in the watershed.

Fish and wildlife recreational opportunities are limited within the Shellpot Creek watershed. Bellevue and Fox Point state parks provide the only public fishing area in the watershed and no public boating or hunting areas exist.
Further Resources