Delaware Natural Resources Police Arrest Two Individuals for Hunting and Firearms Related Charges

Delaware Natural Resources Police arrested two individuals during the opening weekend of shotgun deer season who were both hunting after being convicted of felony charges in the state of Delaware.

On November 12, Brian L. Dill, 47, of Lincoln who was previous convicted of felony theft was charged with three counts of possession of a firearm or ammunition by a person prohibited, two counts of possession of a deadly weapon by a person prohibited, one count of no hunter orange, and one count of possession or transportation of an unlawfully taken antlerless deer.

On November 13, John W. Hitch, 81, of Seaford who was previously convicted of felony possession of child pornography was charged with ten counts of possession of a firearm or ammunition by a person prohibited and one count of possession of a deadly weapon by a person prohibited.

Separate consent searches of the residence for both Brian Dill and John Hitch resulted in the seizure of a total of ten firearms, three crossbows, and numerous rounds of ammunition.

As a result of the arrests, Brian Dill was released on $19,002 unsecured bond and John Hitch was released on $26,000 unsecured bond. Both have preliminary hearings scheduled in the Sussex County Court of Common Pleas. Defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a jury trial at which the State bears the burden of proving each charge beyond a reasonable doubt.

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 65,000 acres of public land. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov; Brooke Mitchell, brooke.mitchell@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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Energy Program Services Available Online

DNREC’s Energy Efficiency Investment Fund Goes Paperless

Businesses looking to improve energy efficiency and reduce costs through the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Energy Efficiency Investment Fund can apply for the program online.

The online portal replaces the current practice for accepting applications in all other formats and will make applying faster and easier for customers, increase the efficiency of reviewing files and improve communication between applicants and program staff. The Energy Efficiency Investment Fund provides grants to help commercial and industrial customers replace aging, inefficient equipment and systems with energy efficient alternatives.

Users can enter project information, including materials and energy savings, into simple tables. The portal contains specialized calculators which streamline the details provided by the applicant to generate an estimated total project cost and grant award. Applicants can also share and store documents, allowing the EEIF team to communicate clearly and directly with the applicant.

“The portal will bolster a program that already saves Delawareans millions of dollars in annual energy costs and will create a more streamlined process for applicants,” said Dayna Cobb, director of the DNREC Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy.

Improving the energy efficiency of a business helps to decrease operating costs, reduce energy consumption and improve environmental performance. Visit de.gov/eeif to learn more about grant and loan programs available, or log on to eeif.smartsimple.com to apply to the 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. The Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy uses science, education, policy development and incentives to address Delaware’s climate, energy and coastal challenges. For more information, visit the website and connect with DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contact: Michael Globetti, Michael.globetti@delaware.gov or Jim Lee, JamesW.Lee@delaware.gov.

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Scientists Investigate Mysterious Songbird Deaths in Delaware, Several Other States and D.C. Area

Photo Credit: National Parks Service photographer Leslie Frattaroli

Public Advised to Temporarily Remove Feeders and Bird Baths

State and federal wildlife experts and wildlife rehabilitators are investigating reports in at least six mid-Atlantic and central states, including Delaware, of sick and dying songbirds stricken by an unknown disorder characterized by swollen eyes with crusty discharge, as well as neurological signs such as erratic flight and stumbling. The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has observed similar symptoms in Delaware’s avian population and more than 50 dead birds have been reported.

Juvenile birds appear to be more affected than adults, with European starlings, blue jays and common grackles as the species most associated with the debilitating event. Investigating agencies including DNREC are working cooperatively with animal health laboratories to find what’s behind this event, with Delaware’s samples sent to the Pennsylvania Animal Diagnostic Laboratory in New Bolton Center, Pa., but no definitive cause has been identified to date.

Although the cause of the event is not yet known, wildlife health experts believe congregating birds may contribute to its spread. Federal and state wildlife experts recommend anyone who keeps bird feeders or bird baths in their home landscape take the following precautions to help manage the event:

  • Cease feeding birds at feeders and providing water in bird baths
  • Before reactivating bird feeders and baths when it is deemed safe by animal health experts to do so, clean them with a 10% bleach solution
  • Avoid handling wild birds, wearing disposable gloves if it is necessary to handle a bird
  • Keep domestic pets away from sick and dead wild birds

If residents observe a live wild bird exhibiting the symptoms as described above, they may contact Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research at 302-737-9543. Additional information can be found on its website at tristatebird.org. If residents find a dead wild bird they suspect displayed any of the above-mentioned symptoms, contact the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife at 302-735-3600.

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 65,000 acres of public land. 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 Hold Pharmaceutical Rule Training Webinar

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control will host a training webinar Tuesday, June 22 to provide guidance for the state’s Pharmaceutical Rule adopted in January 2021, addressing changes to management standards for hazardous waste pharmaceuticals, as well as changes to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Final Rule P075 listing for nicotine waste.

The Pharmaceutical Rule intends to provide streamlined management standards for hazardous waste pharmaceuticals tailored to the health care sector, while protecting human health and the environment. While the training is directed at health care facilities who generate hazardous waste, the public also may attend.

The program will be presented by the DNREC Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances’ Compliance and Permitting section. Information about registering for the webinar can be found on the DNREC Events Calendar. The training webinar will be recorded and along with presentation materials, will be available on the DNREC website afterward.

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 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 @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn .

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

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