DNREC to Hold Virtual Public Workshop Sept. 9 to Discuss Delaware’s Plastic Bag Ban and Regulation Development

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control will host a virtual public workshop next month to discuss the State’s plastic bag ban and introduce draft At-Store Recycling Program Regulations. The informal workshop will offer the public an opportunity to better understand the changes and also provide feedback on the draft regulations which will be used to implement and support this program.

Facilitated by DNREC’s Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances’ Compliance and Permitting Section, the virtual workshop will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020 from 3 to 4:30 p.m.

The proposed regulations will allow the Department discuss the bag ban as well as improve the At-Store Recycling Program, discuss which stores will be impacted and what that impact will look like, and to ensure collection programs at stores for plastic carry out bags and plastic film are consistent with the law.

DNREC encourages all interested parties to attend, including residents, store owners and managers, waste service providers, retailers, recycling processors, plastic bag manufacturers, and environmental organizations.

The plastic bag ban and at-store recycling program video conferencing workshop can be accessed from the online DNREC calendar.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances ensures Delaware’s wastes are managed to protect human life, health, safety and the environment. For more information, visit the website and connect with DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media contact: Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov; Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov

###


DNREC Offers Compost Bins and Rain Barrels at Discount Prices

Both Must Be Preordered in Advance and Are Available Pickup Only

Delaware residents may preorder environmentally beneficial compost bins and rain barrels at discount prices during an online sale sponsored by DNREC. Made available by DNREC’s Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances, in conjunction with the Division of Watershed Stewardship, advance purchases must be made for both items via http://de.gov/recycling before the deadlines listed below:

  • Lewes – Preorder deadline is Sept. 13 for pickup on Saturday, Sept. 19 Pickup location at the DNREC Lewes Field Facility, 901 Pilottown Road, Lewes, DE 19958 (9 a.m. – 1 p.m.).
  • New Castle – Preorder deadline is Sept. 27 for pickup on Saturday, Oct. 3. Pickup location at the DNREC Office, 391 Lukens Drive, New Castle, DE. 19720 (9 a.m. – 1 p.m.).. Pickup: rear door location.
  • Dover – Preorder deadline is Oct. 4 for pickup on Saturday, Oct. 10. Pickup location at the DNREC Office, 155 Commerce Way, Suite B, Dover, DE. 19904 (9 a.m. – 1 p.m.). Pickup: rear door location.

The ”FreeGarden Earth” compost bins, offered through DNREC for $50 each, are made from recycled materials, and require no assembly. Compost bins have features that enhance the decomposition process and help make composting more efficient. These compact units transform food scraps and yard waste into a nutrient-rich soil amendment that replaces traditional fertilizers to produce healthier plants and vegetables in home gardens.

The 55-gallon ”FreeGarden Rain” rain barrels made available by DNREC at $60 each, or about half the retail price, are attractive and easy to move, install and use. They come with an insect resistant stainless-steel screen, three additional spigot mounting locations, as well as a childproof lid and square shape ideal for flush-to-wall and corner installations. Rain barrels collect and store the water from roofs and downspouts for future uses such as watering lawns, gardens, and house plants; cleaning off gardening tools; and car washing. Rain barrels help to lower water bills, particularly in the summer months by collecting free water each year. Rain barrels play an important role in protecting water resources by collecting stormwater runoff from homes before it reaches local streams and rivers.

Compost bins and rain barrels must be picked up between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the chosen location, and only those items ordered will be available. Buyers should note that no additional bins, barrels, or accessories will be sold at the pickup locations.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances ensures Delaware’s wastes are managed to protect human life, health, safety and the environment. For more information, visit the website and connect with DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media contact: Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov; Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov

###


DNREC Offers Yard Waste Management Guidance for Debris from Tropical Storm Isaias

After Tropical Storm Isaias and tornados spawned by the storm left a destructive wake through the state this week that included many downed trees and limbs, the cleanup has begun for many Delaware residents – and will include disposing of more yard waste than usual. Yard waste is banned from Delaware’s landfills so it cannot be placed in trash containers or recycling bins, but DNREC provides resources to help Delawareans manage their yard waste in ways that are protective of human health and the environment.

Yard waste typically consists of materials such as grass clippings, leaves, brush, small limbs (4” in diameter or less), Christmas trees or other vegetative materials. Downed trees or large branches should be cut into manageable lengths for pickup by waste haulers or for drop-off at yard waste sites. Other materials, which might have been lost to the storm or mixed into your yard waste debris such as fence posts, treated wood, plastic or metal items and trash should be separated from yard waste. DNREC reminds Delawareans that managing waste streams properly helps ensure that these materials are disposed of in an environmentally safe manner.

What DNREC asks Delawareans to do for better management of yard waste:

  • Make sure yard waste and normal trash are separated so that they can be collected properly.
  • Utilize one of the many drop-off locations statewide for yard waste if you don’t have curbside collection. A list of sites can be found at http://de.gov/yardwaste.
  • Consider working with your Homeowners Association or your neighbors to rent a chipper or hire a landscape company to mulch all fallen tree limbs and brush in your neighborhood and then put that mulch to use across your home landscape.

What should Delawareans not do with their yard waste:

  • Do not burn yard waste! Open burning is prohibited in Delaware during this time, and punishable by fine of $500 to $1,500 plus court costs.
  • Yard waste should not be mixed with other waste that goes into your trash cart.
  • Do not deposit your yard waste in vacant lots or open space areas. This is illegal dumping and will be prosecuted by DNREC’s Environmental Crimes Unit.

Check with your hauler or municipal or county government to see if additional or different yard waste schedules for pickup are available due to extenuating circumstances from the recent tropical storm. Additionally, some haulers or communities might have specific established guidelines to follow for yard waste pickup.

Report environmental violations, including trash dumping, to the DNREC Environmental Crimes Unit by calling the 24-hour toll-free hotline at 800-662-8802 or text ECUTIP to TIP411 (847411).

Information about yard waste management can be found online at de.gov/yardwaste or by calling DNREC’s Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances at 302-739-9403. Information about open burning can be found online at https://dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov/air/open-burning/ or by calling DNREC’s Division of Air Quality at 302-739-9402.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances ensures Delaware’s wastes are managed to protect human life, health, safety and the environment. For more information, visit the website and connect with DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media contacts: Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov; Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov

###


DNREC Mirror Lake clean-up earns more national acclaim; innovative approach reduces pollutants in the Christina River

DOVER, Del. – For Earth Day 2020, DNREC announced it has successfully used an innovative approach to reduce polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in two Delaware waterways. Newly released scientific data are validating the new method of sequestering pollutants with activated carbon, which render them unavailable for uptake by fish and other aquatic organisms.

The first success was with an activated carbon product called SediMite™ at Mirror Lake in Dover in 2013. The project is featured in a new article co-authored by several project participants, including two DNREC scientists, and published in the May issue of Journal of Environmental Engineering. The article, titled “Full-Scale Application of Activated Carbon to Reduce Pollutant Bioavailability in a 5-Acre Lake” presents a summary of the monitoring data collected at the site between 2013 and 2018. Highlights include an approximate 80% reduction in PCB concentrations in sediment porewater, which is the water trapped between grains of sediment in the bottom of a water body. The study also found an approximate 70% reduction in PCB concentrations in Mirror Lake’s resident fish.

“The recognition by the Journal of Environmental Engineering reflects how Delaware is on the leading edge of environmental technology, an area that DNREC is exploring more and more” said DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin. “Mirror Lake was a successful pilot, so DNREC’s team sought a second opportunity to try the technology.”

The A Street Ditch project became a focus for DNREC’s Watershed Approach to Toxics Assessment and Restoration (WATAR) Team after samples confirmed that drainage ditch sediments were a continuing source of PCBs to the Christina River. The project, in coordination with cleanup efforts at the adjacent South Wilmington Wetland Park site, provided an opportunity to evaluate an enhanced carbon sequestration technology developed by DNREC’s partners at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC).

The enhanced technology involves the use of SediMite™ with the addition of PCB-destroying micro-organisms (inoculant). In theory, the activated carbon will sequester PCBs, as shown in Mirror Lake. However, the micro-organisms (which exist naturally in the environment in much smaller numbers) will effectively degrade the PCB molecules over time. Initial results, collected only 5 months after the inoculated Sedimite™ was applied to the ditch sediments, show that total PCB concentrations in the top layer of sediments across the A Street Ditch study area dropped by an average of 25%. In addition, surface water PCB concentrations across the site area have dropped by an average of 35%. Most impressive is concentrations of total PCBs in sediment porewater have dropped by an average of 64%. Additional monitoring will occur in July 2020, and again in July 2022.

Another harbinger for clean water in Delaware is that sequestering or destroying legacy PCBs – the primary risk driver for most of the fish consumption advisories issued by DNREC and the Delaware Division of Public Health – prevents these contaminants from entering the food chain. With increasing confidence in these innovative sediment remediation technologies, DNREC is beginning to plan for larger-scale projects, in key watersheds across Delaware, with similar water quality impairments.

“What these projects have achieved brings the longstanding goal of clean water for all Delawareans a little closer,” said Secretary Garvin. “DNREC’s dedicated scientists and staff are committed to improving water quality and making smarter use of resources at our disposal, including the technology that has driven both the Mirror Lake and A Street Ditch projects.”

DNREC’s A Street Ditch pilot project was supported by $188,000 in Hazardous Substance Cleanup Act (HSCA) funds and a $30,000 US Environmental Protection Agency multi-purpose grant. For more information, view the DNREC YouTube video about the WATAR team’s A Street Ditch pilot and another video on the Mirror Lake project or visit the DNREC website.

About DNREC

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. For more information, visit the website and connect with DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contact: Micahael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov

###


Polly Drummond yard waste site closed for the day Sunday for capacity and traffic

DOVER, Del. – The Polly Drummond Hill drop-off yard waste site near Newark, which opened for the season on Saturday, April 18, was closed to further drop-offs about noon on Sunday because of yard waste material capacity and traffic issues.

Traffic and capacity caused DNREC to close the Polly Drummond Hill yard waste drop-off site temporarily Sunday, April 19

On Sunday morning, the site had already reached about 80 percent capacity from material that was dropped off by residents on Saturday. Then dozens of cars trying to access the site at once created a long line out of the entrance and onto Polly Drummond Hill Road, blocking traffic and requiring DNREC Natural Resources Police and Delaware State Police to respond.

DNREC will work this week to have its contractor shred and remove all the material that was dropped, and create a traffic plan with the goal of reopening the site on Saturday, April 25. The site operates Saturdays and Sundays.

A list of commercial yard waste drop-off sites that residents can use as an alternative is at https://dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov/waste-hazardous/yard-waste/drop-off-sites/

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. For more information, visit the website and connect with DNREC on FacebookTwitter or LinkedIn

Media Contact: Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov

###