Delaware Groups Oppose Sewage Pipeline - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Delaware Groups Oppose Sewage Pipeline

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REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. - A proposed pipeline in Rehoboth Beach has some local groups steaming.

"Will Delaware Beach Goers soon be swimming in the same water we all pee in," asked a member of the Delaware Audubon Society at a Thursday rally in Rehoboth Beach.

A serious question pointing to a variety of concerns people have about a planned ocean outfall - a pipe that will drain water from the Rehoboth Beach Sewage Treatment Plant into the waters off of Rehoboth Beach.

"What happens at the treatment plant is that this water gets cleaned so it's essentially fresh water with nutrients in it," said John Weber of the Surfrider Foundation.  "They could take the money that they're going to spend on the pipe and they could upgrade what they're doing at the treatment plant and make it even cleaner."

That's one suggestion to create water that could be reused in a more efficient way, say opponents. They say farming irrigation and marshlands are two ways it could benefit the beach town.

"Millions of gallons of water go out into the ocean every single day," Weber added. "Using it once and then throwing it away in the ocean? We could do a lot better with our water resources."

The pipe would run along Lake Avenue, which would have to be dug up to put it in place. It would then cross the beach at the end of the boardwalk and run a mile off of shore, where it would drain the water 40 feet below sea level.  It's a proposal that's been in the hands of DNREC for almost a year, said Gregg Rosner of the Surfrider Foundation.

Since the decision is still under review by the state agency, representatives declined an interview regarding Thursday's protest. But in a statement sent to WMDT, DNREC says:

"DNREC's priorities for Rehoboth are to work with the City to ensure clean water, protect public health, reduce flooding, and maintain Delaware's nationally-renowned five-star beach rating... DNREC has encouraged and supported consideration of a range of alternative practices for dispersing treated water, and remains committed to finding the best means of achieving water quality goals."

Rosner is hopefully those goals won't disturb some of the natural habitat that he finds important to Rehoboth Beach.

"It's pretty close to where we have all this activity, and where there's critical habitat for sturgeon, sharks, our dolphins swim through that little area and it's very disruptive."

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