Delaware Wastewater Treatment Plant Releases Partially Treated Sewage

Dec. 25, 2019

Partially treated sewage in the Lewes, Delaware area has prompted officials to issue a water usage advisory. 

Partially treated sewage from businesses and homes in the Lewes area has been reaching the waterway after equipment at the Lewes Wastewater Treatment Plant malfunctioned on Dec. 18, according to a Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) press release

Residents in Lewes, Delaware are being advised to reduce their water usage, as some of it may be reaching a Delaware Bay tributary without being fully treated. 

The plant, operated by Tidewater Inc., had to bypass stages of treatment and discharge partially treated wastewater into the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal the next day, according to the News Journal

The DNREC urges residents to avoid the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal from one mile southeast of the Lewes treatment plant out through the Roosevelt Inlet. 

DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin also issued an emergency shellfish closure order for harvest areas in: the lower Delaware Bay, from the Mispillion River Inlet south to the Point at Cape Henlopen State Park; and Delaware jurisdictional waters east to the New Jersey State line in the Delaware Bay, reported the News Journal.

The waste flowing through the plant is being screened to remove visible solids and a hydrogen peroxide feed is being used to reduce bacteria, according to DNREC. Regulators have ordered Tidewater to perform enhanced monitoring of the sewage and to monitor waters upstream and downstream of their discharge point in the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal.

According to DNREC's press release, Rehoboth Bay has not been impacted by Lewes' wastewater discharge.

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