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 Issues Notice of Violation to Donovan Smith Mobile Home Park, LLC

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control issued a Notice of Violation today to the Donovan Smith Mobile Home Park, LLC in Lewes for ongoing violations of the state’s laws governing wastewater treatment and disposal systems. The manufactured home community’s onsite wastewater treatment system was found by DNREC to be out of compliance thus posing risks to public health and the environment. The surfacing wastewater poses public health exposure concerns and contributes to groundwater pollution. Routine monitoring of the onsite drinking water system shows that thus far the community drinking water wells have not been impacted by the ongoing wastewater compliance issues. With the NOV, DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin issued the following statement:

“This action follows several months of work to document the ongoing onsite wastewater treatment and disposal violations at the Donovan Smith Manufactured Home Community. It sets enforceable deadlines to fix the issue for residents in this community and push the improved sewer connection project forward, the first project under an important plan to address wastewater and drinking water issues in underserved communities throughout Delaware.”

DNREC has been working with the Department of Health and Social Services and the Delaware Housing Authority to develop a priority list for underserved communities that have water and wastewater issues. The project for Donovan Smith Manufactured Home Community aims to end water pollution at the site by eventually tying the community’s wastewater discharge into the city of Lewes central sewer system. The NOV documents ongoing noncompliance at the manufactured home community and establishes deadlines for Donovan Smith MHP, LLC to correct the problem and move forward on the sewer connection with financing from the underserved communities initiative administered by DNREC and DHSS.

To eliminate risks to public health and the environment, the NOV calls for interim actions including cordoning off areas where wastewater surfacing has occurred in the manufactured home community, and a mandatory pumping of the community septic system to mitigate further wastewater surfacing and groundwater pollution within the community while Donovan Smith moves toward the sewer connection working with the city of Lewes Board of Public Works.

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

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DNREC Requires Croda to Take Actions Protective of Human Health and the Environment at Atlas Point Facility

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced an agreement today with Croda Inc., that requires the company to take actions protective of human health and the environment in addressing recent violations at Croda’s Atlas Point facility near New Castle.

In November 2020, DNREC announced violations at the ethylene oxide (EO) plant, including excess emissions of EO. In January 2021, Croda restarted the facility in order to conduct stack testing. While testing showed that the company was back in compliance with the EO emissions, it revealed violations for nitrogen oxide (NOx) at the ethanol dehydration furnace (EDF). Further violations were detected at the catalytic combustion unit (CCU) for carbon monoxide (CO), volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulate matter (PM). Additionally, the agreement with DNREC addresses violations at the Atlas Point facility that Croda disclosed in its July 2020 semiannual report.

According to the settlement agreement between Croda and DNREC, Croda will meet a schedule to complete construction to remove the hotwell as a source of emissions and re-route emissions from the EO scrubber to minimize or eliminate emissions from this source. Croda will apply to increase emissions at the EDF and all increases will be offset with concurrent permitted decreases at a 1:1.3 ratio. Prior to restarting the EO Plant, Croda will replace the catalyst at the CCU to improve operation of this unit and return to compliance. They will install a flue gas analyzer to measure carbon monoxide (CO) to continuously confirm catalyst performance within 30 days of the EO plant restart. Additional stack testing will be conducted within 60 days of restarting the EO plant to set operating conditions and ensure compliance with emissions limits.

In addition, Croda will pay a penalty of $300,000 and install a community alarm system to the north of Interstate-295, expanding the environmental emergency notification range should the facility be responsible for hazardous releases in the future. The agreement between DNREC and Croda can be found on the DNREC website at https://dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov/secretarys-orders/enforcement/.

A virtual public information session will be held March 3 by DNREC to answer questions and take community comments about Croda’s operations and about the agreement with DNREC. Questions from the public can be emailed in advance to daqpermittinginfo@delaware.gov. Registration for the public information session can be made on the DNREC website. Croda intends to restart the plant no sooner than the end of next week.

DNREC previously posted a list of questions/answers following a November 2020 public information session – they are available on the DNREC website, as is the Nov. 11, 2020 Notice of Violation issued to Croda.

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

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