DNREC to Host Community Workshop on Proposed Biogas Facility in Southern Delaware

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Public Invited to Sept. 28 Virtual Event to Discuss Permits for Bioenergy Devco Before Company Can Expand Operations

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control will hold a virtual community workshop on Wednesday, Sept. 28 about a proposal by Bioenergy Devco (BDC) to expand its existing composting facility in Seaford, Del. to transform organic waste into renewable energy. The proposed project will require multiple permits from DNREC, spanning several of the Department’s divisions, including Air Quality, Waste and Hazardous Substances, and Water. Detailed information about the project and community resources are available at de.gov/biodevco.

The Sept. 28 virtual community workshop is scheduled for 6 p.m. The workshop will allow the community to learn more about BDC’s expansion plans and information contained in the permit applications before making official public comments. These plans include the construction of an anaerobic digester, which breaks down organic wastes and converts them into renewable natural gas or “biogas” and an organic soil amendment.

The virtual community workshop will be conducted by DNREC staff. Attendees will be able to ask questions of the Department about the proposed project. Closed captioning, in languages including English and Spanish, is available as an option. Registration and connection information is published on the DNREC events calendar at de.gov/dnrecmeetings.

A virtual public hearing for the project will be held about a month later, scheduled at 6 p.m. on Oct. 26. The public hearing will allow attendees who have pre-registered to offer comments on the applications to be entered into the public record. Closed captioning, in languages including English and Spanish, is available as an option. All public comments, whether received verbally at the public hearing or in writing before or after the hearing, have the same weight and will be considered equally by the Secretary in making a decision on whether to grant the permit. Registration and connection information is published on the DNREC public hearing webpage, de.gov/dnrechearings.

BDC’s facility is currently permitted by DNREC to accept organic waste from approved poultry industry sources for composting. The proposed facility expansion would give BDC the capacity for receiving and processing up to 250,000 tons per year of permitted organic waste. In addition to the proposed anaerobic digestion system, the expansion plans also include construction of a wastewater pre-treatment system and a biogas upgrading plant. There is also a proposed emergency generator.

Byproducts from the process would include pipeline-grade renewable natural gas (RNG) and digestate, which would be dewatered and is proposed for use in the adjacent compost facility – or to be marketed in the future as a soil amendment that can be turned into compost (and which would require a distribution and marketing permit that is not part of the current proposed project and permit applications).

Specifically, information about each of the DNREC permits BDC has applied for include:

A resource recovery facility permit from the DNREC Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances to construct an anaerobic digestion system, biogas upgrading plant, and compost facility, designed to process poultry industry wastes into digestate, pipeline-grade renewable natural gas (RNG), and compost. Wastes the facility will accept include poultry litter, hatchery waste, dissolved air flotation (DAF) solid cake and liquid sludge, offal, waste activated sludge, and fats, oils, and greases.

Two 1102 Natural Minor air pollution permits from the DNREC Division of Air Quality to construct a natural gas-fired emergency generator with a standby power rating of 1,082 kilowatts (kW) (1,451 horsepower) and four anaerobic digesters with associated biogas upgrade and air pollution control equipment. The engine used in the proposed generator set is certified to comply with, and will be required to adhere to, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

Two wastewater facility construction permits from the DNREC Division of Water to construct an anaerobic digestion system and a wastewater pre-treatment system as part of the proposed resource recovery facility that processes poultry industry wastes into digestate, pipeline-grade renewable natural gas and compost. The anaerobic digestion system and wastewater pretreatment system will include three 0.208-million-gallon (MG) pretreatment tanks, and four 1.95 MG fermentation tanks, a Membrane Bioreactor System (MBR), a 0.198 MG anoxic tank, a 0.412 MG aerobic reactor, a 0.198 MG ultrafiltration feeding tank and ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis treatment systems. The treated wastewater will be pumped and hauled to the Seaford wastewater treatment and disposal facility. BDC plans for a future construction phase will eliminate the need to transport the wastewater via truck by constructing a sanitary sewer pump station and force main that will connect to a future city of Seaford force main located in front of the BDC biogas site on Seaford Road.

BDC’s permit applications and supporting materials can be found in detail on the DNREC website, de.gov/biodevco.

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 DNREC Division of Air Quality monitors and regulates all emissions to the air. The DNREC Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances ensures Delaware’s wastes are managed to protect human life, health, safety and the environment. The DNREC Division of Water manages and protects Delaware’s water resources. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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


DNREC to Present Texas Living Shoreline Webinar Aug. 25

A living shoreline installed by the Galveston Bay Foundation near the Port of Houston.

 

The Galveston Bay Foundation and managing living shorelines in a Texas estuary are the topic of a free webinar at 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 25, presented by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, in partnership with the Delaware Living Shorelines Committee. The webinar speaker is Hallie Leija, habitat restoration manager for the Galveston Bay Foundation.

Leija will provide an overview of living shoreline projects in Galveston Bay, the largest estuary in Texas. The presentation will showcase how the wetlands and coastal areas in Galveston Bay have experienced a multitude of impacts from subsidence, hurricanes, and floods. The webinar will also highlight shoreline challenges associated with the shipping industry at the Port of Houston, one of the country’s largest ports. The webinar presenter will focus on how the Galveston Bay Foundation works with local partners and private landowners to install natural erosion control systems while also restoring important coastal habitat. Additionally, the lecture will review protection and restoration projects in intertidal marshes and shorelines.

The webinar is part of an ongoing virtual series offered by the Delaware Living Shorelines Committee, a workgroup dedicated to facilitating the understanding, peer review and implementation of living shoreline strategy within the state. DNREC’s participation is represented by the DNREC Wetland Monitoring and Assessment program and the DNREC Coastal Training program.

For more information, visit DelawareLivingShorelines.org. Registration for the webinar can be found at de.gov/DNRECmeetings.

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 DNREC Division of Watershed Stewardship develops and implements innovative watershed assessment, monitoring and implementation activities. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Joanna Wilson, joanna.wilson@delaware.gov; Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov


First 2022 Delaware Evidence of Eastern Equine Encephalitis Detected in DNREC’s Sentinel Chickens

Public Urged to Take Precautionary Measures Until Colder Weather Arrives in The Fall

Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), a mosquito-transmitted disease, has been detected in Delaware the first time for 2022 in a sentinel chicken, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced today. Mosquito-transmitted virus detections in DNREC’s sentinel chickens are unrelated to Delaware’s poultry industry.

The EEE finding in northern New Castle County was from a sentinel chicken station sampled by the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife Mosquito Control section and confirmed by the Delaware Public Health Laboratory Aug. 9. While there have been no reported EEE cases in humans this year in the state, Delawareans are reminded that the possibility of contracting mosquito-transmitted diseases, including EEE and West Nile Virus (WNV), will continue until colder autumn temperatures in late-October or later.

The first EEE-positive sentinel chicken for this year adds to five WNV-positive sentinel chickens found earlier at three other sentinel chicken arbovirus monitoring stations in New Castle and Kent counties – with the first WNV finding occurring in early July. No EEE or WNV human cases have been reported to date in 2022 by the Delaware Public Health Laboratory, nor have any EEE or WNV equine cases been reported by the Delaware Department of Agriculture.

Blood samples are collected by the Mosquito Control section each week from early July into October from the state’s outdoor-caged sentinel chickens that are humanely housed and handled at 20 monitoring stations statewide. The blood samples are tested for EEE and WNV antibodies by the Delaware Public Health Laboratory. Sentinel chickens bitten by mosquitoes carrying EEE or WNV develop antibodies to these diseases but are otherwise unaffected. Mosquitoes can transmit both WNV and EEE to humans and horses.

The public is reminded to take common-sense precautions to avoid mosquito bites, including wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors in mosquito-prone areas, applying insect repellent containing 10 to 30% diethyltoluamide (DEET) in accordance with label instructions and avoiding mosquito-infested areas and at times of peak mosquito activity around dusk, dawn and at night.

Spraying to reduce mosquito populations in areas where EEE or WNV is detected may be initiated by DNREC’s Mosquito Control section as warranted, based on factors to include mosquito population levels and mosquito species present in affected areas. To reduce mosquito-breeding habitat and chances of disease transmission, residents should drain or remove outdoor items that collect water, such as discarded buckets or containers, uncovered trashcans, stagnant birdbaths, unprotected rain barrels or cisterns, old tires, upright wheelbarrows, flowerpot liners, depressions in boat tarps, clogged rain gutters, corrugated downspout extenders and unused swimming pools.

While EEE is rarer than WNV, both EEE and WNV can adversely affect people and horses. Most people who become infected with EEE virus and WNV show either no or mild symptoms. Early symptoms in people contracting EEE or WNV can be similar, but EEE often becomes more pronounced and debilitating, manifested by meningitis or encephalitis typically resulting in hospitalizations. EEE has a higher human mortality rate of approximately 30%, with infants, children and the elderly most vulnerable, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms in people infected with EEE usually start from four to 10 days after being bitten by a mosquito infected with EEE. Early EEE symptoms can include headache, high fever, stiff neck, tremors or muscle weakness, with more severe cases progressing to stupor, disorientation, coma, convulsions, paralysis and possibly death. Most people infected with WNV do not develop symptoms, but about 20% can develop a mild illness, including fever, body and muscle aches, headache, nausea, vomiting, and rash symptoms. A small number of people infected with WNV can develop serious illness involving neurological problems, paralysis and possibly death. There are no human vaccines for EEE or WNV. Anyone developing the symptoms described above should see their healthcare provider.

Horse owners should contact their veterinarian immediately if they suspect their horse may be showing signs of WNV or EEE. Symptoms of EEE in horses include fever (102.5-104.5°F), loss of appetite, head pressing, depression or personality change, wobbling or staggering, weakness, blindness, convulsions, muscle tremors in the head and neck or hind-limb weakness. These signs are also consistent with WNV, although a fever may or may not be present with WNV.

Additional information about mosquitoes and mosquito-transmitted diseases is available from the following resources:

  • For mosquito biology/ecology and control, contact the Mosquito Control section office in Dover at 302-739-9917.
  • For requests for mosquito relief in upstate areas from Dover north, contact Mosquito Control’s Glasgow field office at 302-836-2555.
  • For requests for mosquito relief in downstate areas south of Dover, contact Mosquito Control’s Milford field office at 302-422-1512.
  • For animal health questions, contact the Delaware Department of Agriculture’s Poultry and Animal Health Section at 302-698-4500.
  • To report suspected cases of human EEE or WNV, call the Division of Public Health Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology toll-free at 888-295-5156.
  • For more information on Eastern Equine Encephalitis or West Nile Virus, visit www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm.

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 DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife conserves and manages Delaware’s fish and wildlife and their habitats, and provides fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing and boating access on nearly 68,000 acres of public land. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media contacts: Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov; Joanna Wilson, joanna.wilson@delaware.gov

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DNREC, DelDOT To Deploy New EV Charging Stations Along State’s Major Travel Routes Via BIL Initiative Funding

DNREC and DelDOT will locate 11 multi-car, fast-charging electric vehicle charging stations along major travel routes followed by an expansion of EV charging stations into communities over the next five years.

 

Major Expansion Into Communities To Follow Over Next Five Years

Delaware plans to locate 11 multi-car, fast-charging electric vehicle charging stations along major travel routes followed by an expansion of EV charging stations into communities over the next five years as part of a Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) initiative to dramatically expand EV charging across the country.

Under an initial plan submitted to the federal government July 29 jointly by the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) and Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), Delaware proposes to utilize almost $18 million in federal funds to:

  • In a first phase, locate five new charging stations around the state, meeting a requirement with the BIL funding that EV charging stations be available at least every 50 miles along major travel routes identified by the federal government: I-95, SR 1, U.S. 13 and U.S. 113. Subject to additional data and public input, the general targeted areas are the I-95 Biden Welcome Center near Newark, Dover, Rehoboth Beach, Laurel and Selbyville.
  • In a second phase, locate six additional charging stations in additional areas along the identified corridors, meeting a state goal of every-25-mile availability. Subject to additional data and public input, the general targeted areas are Middletown, Smyrna, Harrington, Milford, Bridgeville and Georgetown.
  • In a third phase, locate charging stations in high-density residential areas, focusing on areas with multi-family housing and/or street parking in areas that may not otherwise have convenient charging options.

The operators and exact locations of the EV stations in the general identified areas would be chosen through a competitive process after additional planning and public input. EV drivers would pay for the use of the chargers.

The initial state plan is part of the National Electrical Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program that aims to place half a million new EV charging stations across the country by 2030, making it easier and more predictable to travel in electric vehicles. NEVI includes requirements that the charging stations along major highway corridors be “DC fast chargers” capable of charging at least four vehicles at a time, operate 24 hours a day, and use common payment platforms.

NEVI is part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law signed by President Joe Biden in November 2021 and championed by U.S. Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons and U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester.
“Tailpipe emissions from our vehicles are the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions both here in Delaware and across the country. Making it easier for Delawareans to choose to drive electric is a key strategy in Delaware’s Climate Action Plan,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “The federal funding made available through the NEVI program accelerates our efforts in Delaware to not just reduce transportation emissions, but improve air quality in our communities, improve public health and expand transportation choices.”

DelDOT Secretary Nicole Majeski said installing charging stations here and around the country will increase consumer confidence that purchasing an electric vehicle is a practical choice, and is good for Delaware. “Increased temperatures, sea level rise and more frequent and intense storms and flooding take a toll on our transportation network,” Majeski said. “Accelerating our transition to cleaner transportation is essential to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Further development of the plan will include engagement from industry, environmental and community stakeholders. The submitted NEVI plan and other information about creating support for EVs in Delaware can be found at https://deldot.gov/Programs/NEVI/index.shtml.

The NEVI funding is one of several funding opportunities and activities the State will utilize in a broader effort to encourage electric vehicle use. Gov. John Carney’s administration has supported electric vehicles by offering rebates for the purchase or lease of electric vehicles through DNREC’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Program and incentives for the installation of public, fleet, workplace and multi-family charging stations through DNREC’s Electric Vehicle Charging Equipment Rebate Program.

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 @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media contacts: DNREC: Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov; DelDOT: C.R. McLeod, charles.mcleod@delaware.gov


Mud Mill Pond Boat Ramp to Temporarily Reopen Due to Change in Dam Construction Schedule

The dam at Mud Mill Pond near Marydel is to undergo renovation over the next six months to include replacing gates in the spillway and installation of stabilizing rip rap./DNREC photo

 

Facility Now Set to Close for Dam Project Aug. 22

Due to a recent change in the Mud Mill Pond dam construction schedule, the Mud Mill Pond boat ramp and adjacent parking lot near Marydel has been reopened, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced today. The boat ramp and parking lot will close from Monday, Aug. 22, 2022 until March 2023 due to construction activities associated with Mud Mill Pond dam improvements.

With the Mud Mill Pond boat ramp to be closed at that time for the remainder of 2022 and into next year, anglers who fish from a boat or shore from public fishing access areas can alternatively use the Derby Pond boat ramp near Camden or Garrisons Lake boat ramp near Smyrna.

For more information regarding the boat ramp closure, contact the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife Fisheries Section at 302-739-9914.

For more information regarding dam the construction activities, contact the DNREC Division of Watershed Stewardship Dam Safety program at 302-834-5557.

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 DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife conserves and manages Delaware’s fish and wildlife and their habitats, and provides fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing and boating access on nearly 68,000 acres of public land. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media contact: Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov

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