DNREC: Lewes wastewater seeps into waterways
LEWES, Del. – The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control says an equipment malfunction at the Lewes wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) is the reason some partially-treated wastewater was discharged from the plant last Thursday.
DNREC says while Tidewater, Inc. works to correct the issue, they encourage some Lewes residents to cut back on water usage to remove any strain on the current wastewater system. They recommend some water conservation tips like avoid washing multiple loads of laundry, dishwashing, reduce shower times and minimize flushing toilets.
An emergency 21-day shellfish closure has been ordered for harvest areas downstream from the plant, specifically from the Mispillion River Inlet south to The Point at Cape Henlopen State Park. They say discharge from the plant feeds into the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal which ends up in the Delaware Bay. The temporary closure applies to clams, oysters, and mussels. However crabs, conch and fish species are not affected.
Right now WWTP and Tidewater, Inc. are fixing the situation. They say they’re skimming the top to remove solids before the wastewater is discharged. They also say they’re adding hydrogen peroxide to reduce bacteria. The temporary closure is in place until the treatment plant meets discharge standards. The Rehoboth Bay has not been impacted by the wastewater discharge.