Plan to Connect Donovan Smith Manufactured Home Community Gets Important Conditional Approval

Donovan Smith was required to cordon off areas where wastewater surfacing has occurred and pump the sewage to mitigate further wastewater surfacing and groundwater pollution within the manufactured home community.

 

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced today plans to connect the Donovan Smith Manufactured Home Community to the Lewes Board of Public Works sewer system are proceeding following issuance of a conditional letter of approval of the state-funded loan mechanism that will provide financing for the connection.

The community owner’s lender had to sign off on the financing arrangement in order for the state-funded loan for the connection to proceed, and a conditional approval has been secured by the owner, DNREC confirmed Monday, following months of negotiation.

Donovan Smith was chosen as a pilot project for Delaware’s Clean Water Initiative for Underserved Communities – with DNREC, the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, and the Delaware State Housing Authority partnering at Governor John Carney’s behest to develop a priority list for underserved communities in the state that have longtime water and wastewater issues. The combination of DNREC enforcement of wastewater regulations and financial help for Donovan Smith aims to end water pollution at the site by moving the community from septic systems to the Lewes central sewer system. The Clean Water Initiative will use the approach being piloted with Donovan Smith to institute water and wastewater improvements in other similar communities.

“There are a number of manufactured home communities in our state — especially downstate — with longtime septic issues where putting the cost of a sewer connection on the residents would be a tremendous financial burden. Finding a way to mandate the sewer connection without burdening the residents or possibly bankrupting the park — and leaving the residents without anywhere to live — is the tightrope we must walk, and which the state financing supported by Gov. Carney is making possible,” DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin said. “We are working to make a difference in the lives of these residents and in the environment, one step at a time.”

DNREC also announced it has issued a second Notice of Violation to Donovan Smith Mobile Home Park (MPH), LLC following an initial NOV issued in July. The second NOV was issued Sept. 13 after a compliance inspection and two environmental complaint investigations found multiple additional violations associated with several small onsite wastewater treatment and disposal systems within the community that were not previously addressed in the July NOV. One of the violations was a collapsing septic tank with wastewater overflowing and ponding on the grounds – with no barrier or fencing preventing human or pet contact with untreated wastewater, a significant public health hazard.

The first NOV documented the Donovan Smith MHP’s ongoing noncompliance and established deadlines for Donovan Smith to correct the problem and move forward on the sewer connection with financing from the Clean Water Initiative. According to the latest enforcement notice, although DNREC received updates from Donovan Smith concerning interim corrective actions taken, initiation of the required system pump-outs and submission of a corrective action plan did not occur within the timeframes established in the July NOV.

This second NOV cites Donovan Smith MHP for these delays, as well as additional violations that have occurred since July. And although Donovan Smith has since initiated system pump-outs and submitted a preliminary corrective action plan, this second NOV requires additional interim corrective actions. The DNREC enforcement measure also calls for amendments to the corrective action plan to address additional violations, monthly communication with the community residents on the status of corrective actions, and more rigorous inspection and reporting to mitigate additional environmental and public health concerns until the sewer connection is achieved.

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 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 and Partners Earn Award for Living Shoreline Project

Delaware’s Sassafras Landing living shoreline, a joint project of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and the Delaware Center for the Inland Bays, has been recognized as one of the 2021 Best Restored Shores by the American Shore & Beach Preservation Association (ASBPA).

A method of shoreline stabilization and protection for wetlands, living shorelines absorb storm energy, build habitat and protect property while reducing the potential for shoreline erosion issues. They also filter pollutants to improve water quality.

ASBPA cited the project, located on DNREC’s Assawoman Wildlife Area in Frankford, as one that successfully improved the area’s resiliency to sea level rise by increasing protection to the “35-Acre Pond,” an impoundment on the wildlife area, restoring surrounding salt marsh, and reducing nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus in the adjacent Miller Creek.

“We are pleased to receive this prestigious honor from the ASBPA,” said DNREC Division of Watershed Stewardship Environmental Scientist Alison Rogerson. “We determined the best approach was to use the environmental-friendly living shoreline technique when we began the project in 2018. Working together with CIB, we created a living shoreline that has increased the pond’s ability to adapt to rising sea levels, reduce pollution and create habitat.”

The project was completed in June 2019, with help from two dozen volunteers who planted 5,200 plugs of native marsh grass. Since then, the marsh grass has thrived and successfully weathered several coastal storms. The plants have thickened, wildlife have been spotted using the new habitat and the freshwater “35-Acre Pond” is protected from a breach by salt water.

“The living shoreline at Sassafras Landing will serve as one of the Center for the Inland Bays’ living shoreline demonstration sites,” said Chris Bason, CIB executive director. “These projects showcase a variety of living shoreline techniques, enhance wetland habitat, and provide opportunities to educate the public and marine contractors on the ecological benefits of using nature-based tactics to protect and restore eroding shorelines.”

DNREC collaborated with the Center and Cardno civil engineering services to design the project, and provided funds and materials including stone, rock, sand and plants, along with a construction crew from the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife. The DNREC Division of Watershed Stewardship also provided design assistance, surveying and signage for the project.

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.

About the Center for the Inland Bays
The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays is a nonprofit organization established in 1994, and is one of 28 National Estuary Programs. With its many partners, the Center works to preserve, protect and restore Delaware’s Inland Bays and their watershed. Learn more at inlandbays.org.

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

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Delaware to Solicit Projects for Water Quality Funding

Public Workshop Scheduled on Aug. 11

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, in conjunction with the Division of Public Health, will begin soliciting for new water quality projects Aug. 11 as DNREC and DPH start to develop 2021 Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) and Drinking Water State Revolving (DWSRF) project priority lists. Projects must be listed on the CWSRF and DWSRF project priority lists to be considered for funding.

A State Revolving Loan Fund virtual public workshop will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 11 via Webex and offer a detailed overview of the CWSRF and DWSRF programs. Attendees will get guidance on requesting financial assistance for wastewater and drinking water infrastructure project needs. Pre-registration for the workshop is required.

Workshop attendees also will be informed that State Revolving Fund programs administered by DNREC Environmental Finance can provide a wide range of financial assistance, including:

  • A one-stop loan application process for wastewater and drinking water infrastructure project assistance
  • Land conservation and water quality improvement loan sponsorship programs
  • Source water protection loans for drinking water supplies
  • Wastewater, drinking water, and stormwater matching planning grants
  • Community water quality improvement grants
  • Asset management planning grants
  • Project planning advances
  • Planning and design loans

The workshop also will offer guidance on how and when to submit projects for funding consideration, project ranking criteria, project construction requirements, and how to apply for infrastructure planning grants.

Notices of Intent (NOI) for State Revolving Fund wastewater, drinking water, stormwater, and related infrastructure projects are due by DNREC close of business at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 10.

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 Environmental Finance team administers Delaware’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund, making funding available to municipalities, the private sector, nonprofit organizations and individuals. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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

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DNREC Dives Into National Water Quality Month

Passage of Clean Water for Delaware Act, Clean Water Initiative
for Underserved Communities are Reasons for Celebration

As the calendar turns to August, Delaware recognizes National Water Quality Month on a tide of momentum from Governor Carney’s signing of the Clean Water for Delaware Act, hailed as landmark legislation for reviving many of the state’s waterways and ensuring all Delawareans have access to clean water.

The act is buoyed by a new $50 million Clean Water Trust to fund drinking and wastewater projects across the state, and supports the Clean Water Initiative for Underserved Communities that will enable the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control through its environmental justice mission to work toward achieving clean water for all Delawareans.

DNREC will also celebrate the completion of the Lewes Canal project, a joint effort to enhance an existing living shoreline. A method of shoreline stabilization and protection for wetlands, living shorelines absorb storm energy and protect property while reducing the potential for shoreline erosion issues. They also improve water quality by removing nitrogen that can cause algae blooms that are detrimental both to human health and aquatic life.

In addition, DNREC launched an interactive, online quiz about water quality. Anyone can test how attuned they are to the critical role water has in every aspect of human life – including the importance of drinking water and the proper treatment of wastewater. Meanwhile, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which initiated National Water Quality Month in 2005 – linked to the passage three decades earlier of the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act – offers water education resources that include a drinking water activities website for students and teachers.

Water Quality Month provides the opportunity to learn just how precious water is for survival, and how much we should value it for sustaining human life – with only about 3% of the world’s water being freshwater, and just 1% of that freshwater potable or drinkable.

DNREC wants the public to know that everyone can help the state achieve the water quality standard for clean water and safe drinking water that all Delawareans deserve. The DNREC Division of Water section recommends taking the following actions to help improve the state’s water quality:

  • Properly store, use and dispose of chemicals and hazardous liquids (thus keeping them out of the water supply)
  • Properly maintain your septic system
  • Properly dispose of your outdated medications at a take-back event
  • Test your soil to determine if fertilizers are needed
  • Reduce use of lawn fertilizers and herbicides and pesticides, especially when rainstorms are imminent, and consider fertilizing with an alternative such as compost or compost tea
  • Volunteer for a community or statewide cleanup
  • Use rain barrels to collect rainfall for watering your lawn and garden
  • Start a rain garden that will thrive with little need of watering
  • Wash your car at commercial car wash locations where wash water is collected for proper disposal

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 Water manages and protects Delaware’s water resources. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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


Governor Carney Signs Clean Water for Delaware Act

Legislation Highlighted by $50 Million Clean Water Trust, Water Resources Funding for Underserved Communities

LEWES, Del. –  Governor John Carney on Thursday signed into law House Bill 200, the Clean Water for Delaware Act, which creates a new Clean Water Trust to protect Delaware waterways and rebuild Delaware’s drinking water infrastructure with a focus on underserved communities.

HB 200, sponsored by House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst, establishes a framework for assessing needs and planning to implement projects that support Delaware’s longstanding efforts to improve the quality of the state’s water supply and waterways. The Act also calls for creating the Delaware Clean Water Trust and is supported by $50 million in the fiscal year 2022 budget as a funding source for water quality and water-related projects, giving it the financial clout that previous efforts at passing clean water legislation lacked.

“All Delawareans deserve clean water. The Clean Water for Delaware Act and our new Clean Water Trust will help us deliver on that promise,” said Governor Carney. “This legislation and unprecedented investment, which had bipartisan support, will help us protect our waterways for future generations of Delawareans, and upgrade our infrastructure to make sure all Delaware families have access to clean drinking water. Thank you to Representative Longhurst, Senator Townsend, the Delaware Nature Society and all the advocates who have worked on this issue for years.”

“In Delaware, the quality of our water resources is directly linked to the health and vibrancy of our communities up and down the state. Whether it’s water and wastewater infrastructure to support smart development in New Castle County, the needs of our agricultural industry downstate, or the challenges our coastal communities face with flooding and sea level rise, so much falls under the banner of clean water in Delaware,” said House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst. “My goal with the Clean Water for Delaware Act was to create an innovative new program to fund projects that would tackle water quality challenges on many fronts. We will help to right the wrongs of the past and, perhaps most importantly, we will set Delaware on a path to a future where people from all walks of life can enjoy the beauty and splendor of our streams, rivers, lakes and beaches.”

For the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Delaware Health and Social Services and other state agencies, the Clean Water for Delaware Act goes much deeper into managing the state’s water resources. It spans numerous water quality programs whose funding will be supported by the Clean Water Trust, including infrastructure for drinking water, stormwater and wastewater, and covering programs for drainage, waterway management and beach preservation, and many other water-related projects funded by separate state and federal resources among them the conservation reserve enhancement program, conservation cost-sharing and tax ditches.

One of the major environmental openings is the Act’s support of the Governor’s Clean Water Initiative for Underserved Communities that is part of DNREC’s work with the state’s low-income, underserved communities. The initiative, which was announced today, can be found here.

“I want to recognize Carney, Representative Longhurst and the entire General Assembly, and all stakeholders for their support in giving DNREC additional tools to help the state realize the goal of Clean Water for all Delawareans,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “With this legislation, through the Clean Water Trust, we will be able to bring more resources to bear and more partners to the table to address the water challenges of our state. And though the Governor’s Clean Water Initiative, state agencies, particularly DHSS and DNREC, are in a position to lift those who until now might have been thwarted by circumstances, costs or lack of community governance structure from their right to safe drinking water and proper wastewater treatment.”

The Act also contains a passage that “it is important that priorities for clean water projects in this State be given to projects that utilize green infrastructure and enhancement of natural systems to provide ecological benefits that improve water quality, demonstrate a high ratio of nutrient or pollution reduction to the amount of funding, and improve of community resilience to extreme weather, sea level rise, and other climate impacts.” And language for creating of the Clean Water Trust is explicit that “Existing federal and State funding resources alone are inadequate to meeting the State’s current and future demand for clean water projects.”

“House Bill 200 and the new clean water funding investments are a game changer for Delaware,” said Delaware Nature Society Interim Executive Director Joanne McGeoch. “Clean water is critical to Delaware’s environment, wildlife, economy, food supply, and public health. HB 200 will ensure that this vital resource is protected today and for future generations.”

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