Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

State and local officials prepare to launch Clean Water Initiative pilot project

Tap water running from the sink.

A more reliable source of water and wastewater services are coming to a Lewes community previously plagued by unsanitary conditions.

State agencies and local officials are wrapping up the paperwork to launch the project which will connect the Donovan Smith community, a mobile home park, to municipal water and sewer.

It’s the pilot project for the Governor’s Clean Water Initiative for Underserved Communities.

DNREC Sec. Shawn Garvin head shot
State of Delaware
DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin

Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC)
Secretary Shawn Garvin says projects like this can benefit the whole state.

“Everyone in the country deserves to have safe drinking water and wastewater and so there’s that piece and that’s the most important piece,” he said.  “But also what it does is really protect our groundwater sources, our natural resources by getting out the potential of that contamination getting into our groundwater, even surface water.”

Garvin and Secretary of Health and Social Services Secretary Molly Magarik recently signed an agreement that authorizes loans totaling more than $5 million for the Lewes project.

Under the agreement, the loans will be forgiven once construction is complete.

Construction on the Lewes project is expected to begin in the latter half of 2022.

Garvin says the state is currently evaluating other communities and hopes to eventually have multiple projects in the works at one time.

The owner of the Donovan Smith mobile home park has been cited twice over the last year for a failing septic tank that has threatened public health and safety. Under the agreement, the owner will bear all the community’s water and sewer utility costs and residents will be protected from rent increases based on those costs for a period of 20 years.

Rebecca Baer comes Delaware Public Media from The Florida Channel in Tallahassee where she covered state government and produced documentary features for the series, Florida Crossroads.