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Artesian starts operation recycling Allen Harim effluent after the two resolve lawsuit

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The wastewater management company Artesian announced this week it began taking wastewater from the chicken processor Allen Harim following the resolution of a legal dispute over payment. 

The two signed a contract in 2017 for Artesian to take treated effluent from Allen Harim and spray it onto agricultural land in Sussex County.

Allen Harim filed suit against Artesian accusing the wastewater company of holding up services until the chicken processor paid $1.42 million. 

Artesian President and CFO David Spacht says the lawsuit is resolved, payment made and the operation is in full swing.

“Different interpretations of when commencement date of the take or pay arrangement occurred,” said Spacht. “Both parties wanted clarity. Allen Harim filed lawsuit to basically get the clock running and since then we have settled it.”           

As of last Friday, Artesian is now recycling 1.5 million gallons of treated effluent from Allen Harim each day, running it through nine miles of force main and spraying it onto 17 acres of agricultural fields at its Sussex Regional Water Recharge Facility (SRRF) near Milton. 

Artesian says it has invested $28 million into the project.

Spacht says this is a long term solution after Allen Harim received multiple fines from the state for dumping the nutrient-rich treated wastewater into Beaverdam Creek near its Harbeson facility.

“By sending it to us those nutrients are sprayed on crops which need that nutrient for growth,” he said. “So it’s beneficial for two ways: it keeps the streams healthy and keeps the crops healthy.”   

The local environmental group Keep Our Wells Clean fought against the construction of the Artesian facility in a legal case that reached the Delaware Supreme Court.

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