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News Journal: Rehoboth's wastewater plan and DNREC's alternative

They rank among the cleanest in the nation: miles of Atlantic Ocean surf at the edge of Delaware beaches that double as resort playgrounds and crowded mainstays for the state's economy.

Yet, this weekend holiday arrives at a pivotal moment as state and local officials look for a new place to daily send up to 3.4 million gallons of treated sewage now pumped from Rehoboth Beach into a canal just off the polluted inland bays.

After years of studies, court battles and debates, the leading option simply calls for pumping the waste about a mile into the ocean off of the north end of Rehoboth Beach, via a $30 million outfall pipe.

It's an idea that has environmental groups and some residents worried the government is simply trading one dirty water problem for another, hoping simple dilution will protect Delaware's ocean beaches from the inland bays' fate.

Greg Rosner, a Delaware Surfrider Foundation member, said the proposed Rehoboth outfall is archaic – "the wrong message to send" about the state's biggest tourism attraction.

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