Working sewage system heading to Kent County low-income residents

DOVER, Del. – For almost 20 years, plans have been in the works in Kent County for a septic evacuation project to bring clean water and a working sewage system to residents. “We need to raise the standards of living for them in place, these are the things that just make their quality of life so much better,” says Jody Sweeney, Commissioner for Levy Courts in the 5th District for Kent County.

County administrators tell 47 ABC, the project alone came to $5.7 million, so acquiring the funding was the tricky part. “We believe this is a part of USDA’s mission is to help where we can, help people as much as we can, especially in areas that need the help,” says David Baker, State Director for USDA Rural Development for Delaware and Maryland.

USDA provided $4.2 million in grant funding with almost $200,000 in loans, while Kent County is providing $1.3 million in grants from federal funds. Homeowners in the area will be tasked with taking on a sewage bill.

However, Diana Golt with Kent County public works says after doing an income survey and speaking with residents, many are for improving their sewage system and even addressing environmental needs. “It’s an environmental issue with water quality, and better water quality hopefully equals a better life,” says Golt.

Sweeny says he’s been working on this project for almost 15 years. He tells us he’s been dedicated to not only building up low-income communities, but he wanted to make their bill as affordable as possible. “It has been a battle to keep those costs low for the homeowners, so that’s why it’s taken so long,” says Sweeney.

The project involves engineering designs, permits, and hiring contractors, so it may take a few years to complete. However, with funding in hand, the real work can begin. “It improves water quality, provides jobs also for people to put the system in, and it’s very beneficial to the residents here,” says Baker.

Golt also says it may take up to three to five years for the project to be complete.

If residents have any questions or want a better sewage system where they live to call the Kent County Public Works office at 302-744-2430.

Categories: Delaware, Local News