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Wilmington and New Castle County agree on wastewater treatment contract

Brad Glazier
Delaware Public Media

For the first time in 19 years, Wilmington and New Castle County have agreed on a wastewater treatment contract.

The 10-year agreement calls for the city to process county sewage at the city’s wastewater treatment plant on East 12th Street and Hay Road.

Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki explains what else it covers.

"It sets the rules and the rates and the way we determine the allocation of cost on our sewer system, but what's most important about this is the complications involved are affirmed by the fact that we haven't had an agreement since 2003 where the two city and the county got together and try to work something out," said Purzycki.

The agreement also establishes a Wastewater Treatment Committee which will comprise both city and county government representatives.

They will meet regularly, and share information including capital expenditures, finances, regulatory compliance, and other information.

This new deal sets a date of no later than January 1, 2031 to begin discussing a new contract.

Again, this is the first time in 19 years the two have agreed on a wastewater treatment contract. The last deal came through arbitration, and that was always contested according to Purzycki.

Purzycki says both he and County Executive Matt Meyer wanted to end the long disagreements on wastewater treatment.

"What we've done for two decades is fight, and so Matt and I got together and said we're not going to do this, this is beneath us and we're going to hammer this out,” said Purzycki. “So we gave instructions to our staff to get into a room and just keep beating this thing until something that seems reasonably fair to all parties comes out of it and that's what they did we're very, very pleased with it."

In a statement Meyer calls the agreement fair and equitable for residents.

“I am thankful for the time and consideration Mayor Purzycki gave to resolving this issue,” said Meyer. “The agreement we came to is fair and equitable for both city and county residents and likely saved millions of dollars of legal fees that would have come from the sewer fees paid by residents across the county.”

The deal still needs to be reviewed and voted on by both Wilmington City Council and New Castle County Council.