delware environmental institute

Governor Markell proposes partnership for clean water and jobs

At the Kent County Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility today, Governor Jack Markell proposed taking advantage of a partnership opportunity with the federal government to invest in clean water projects that create local jobs, provide long-term water quality benefits, and protect public health and the environment. "You can’t grow a healthy family without clean water.  You also can’t grow a healthy community or a healthy company – whether you're a small or large employer – without a clean, reliable water supply," said Markell.  "Investing in clean water infrastructure will pay significant dividends for Delaware’s economic growth, our environment and the safety of our families, while creating jobs now."

The proposal would enable Delaware to leverage a federal capitalization grant of $7.2 million for the Delaware Clean Water State Revolving Fund.  The State would allocate $2 million through the fund, bringing a total of more than $9 million for new projects.  The proposal would also allocate $600,000 to construct and operate an expanded groundwater-monitoring network in southern New Castle County and northern Kent County.

The Delaware Clean Water State Revolving Fund supports projects that repair and expand wastewater treatment plants and sewer systems and replace failing on-site septic systems. Funds could also support construction projects that: control flooding in communities; protect drinking water wells from pollution; reduce stormwater runoff and erosion; protect the water quality of our bays, rivers and streams; and improve energy efficiency at wastewater facilities, saving taxpayers money.

“Right now Delaware has 41 clean water projects under construction totaling nearly $100 million – more projects underway than at any time in our state’s history,” said Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Collin O’Mara. “The Governor’s proposed investment will support critical water quality projects benefitting Delaware’s economy and environment and will help ensure cleaner, healthier bays, rivers and streams for years to come.”

The announcement was made at the Kent County Wastewater Treatment Facility—a nationally recognized example of a Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) success story. EPA Regional Administrator Shawn Garvin praised the facility for its safety, energy efficiency and effectiveness and presented EPA’s PISCES award for “performance and innovation in the State Revolving Fund creating environmental success.”

"EPA is proud to partner with Delaware in creating jobs, increasing economic development and protecting public health and the environment through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund," said EPA mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. "These new investments build on our track record of success, including the novel, forward-thinking features at this Kent County facility."

Kent County received EPA’s PISCES award for multiple innovative projects: a renewable energy park that includes 6,000 solar panels, three greenhouses for passive solar drying of waste sludge, a new UV disinfection system and a 60,000 gallon elevated water storage tank. The 1.2-megawatt solar system, manufactured by Motech Americas in Newark, reduces operating costs by almost 20 percent. In 2009 Kent County secured CWSRF financing of $15.5 million including $1.1 million in federal stimulus funding (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) to cover these efforts.

Approved last December, Kent County received a second CWSRF loan of almost $7 million for a new nutrient removal system and the expansion of treatment capacity to meet the needs of a growing county. To cover project costs of $18.4 million, this project leveraged USDA funding of more than $11 million.

"In recent years Kent County has done a tremendous job in making the treatment plant a model of efficiency. It is a great accomplishment to be so highly regarded,” said Kent County Levy Court Vice President Allan F. Angel.

CWSRF investments are supported by EPA capitalization grants and State of Delaware matching funds.  The Fund was created by the Delaware General Assembly in 1990 and administered by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. Projects are reviewed by the Clean Water Advisory Council, a 12-member committee appointed by Governor Markell and recommended to DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara for funding.

To date in 2011, the CWSRF has received 15 requests for new infrastructure projects – totaling almost $66 million. Of the proposals, three clean water projects totaling about $4.3 million have been selected for funding.

  • Kent County’s Sewage Disposal District No. 1 will receive a $1.14 million loan for county central sewer service to the East Dover area that eliminates existing, individual on-site septic systems.  The sewer service includes the mobile home parks of Grandview, M&S, Oak Grove and some existing strip lots. Pollution from these septic systems is impacting Little Creek and groundwater.
  • City of Wilmington will receive a loan of $1.7 million to address combined sewer overflows in the Kentmere and Union areas that are impacting Brandywine Creek and the Christina River.
  • City of Wilmington will receive a loan of $1.5 million for a project that assist the city in sampling and flow monitoring of the influent force main leading into the Wilmington Wastewater Treatment Plant.

In August, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control will hold a second solicitation period for new clean water project requests. For more information, visit DNREC’s website, www.wr.dnrec.delaware.gov/Services/Pages/FinancialAssistanceBranch.aspx.

Vol. 41, No. 215