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Rehoboth gets approval to release treated wastewater in Atlantic

City of Rehoboth Beach
Outfall header

Delaware has given Rehoboth Beach final approval for a project to empty its treated wastewater into the Atlantic Ocean.



It's meant to be a remedy for the town’s current practice of releasing wastewater into the Inland Bays via the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal.


"This is a sad day for Delaware," said John Doerfler, chairman of the Delaware chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, which is dedicated to environmental protection.


“The water is only treated for bacteria. It doesn’t take out the pharmaceuticals. It doesn’t take out heavy metals. It doesn’t take out things inside of paint. We don’t know over the long-term what these pharmaceuticals and things are going to do to marine life and fish,” he said.


But Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Shawn Garvin said an analysis showed no impact to water quality.  


Garvin signed the order Thursday approving final permits for construction of the controversial project.


“Based on the permit limits and the process the city will be using, there won’t be water quality impacts,” he said.


The outfall pipeline will empty into the Atlantic Ocean 6,000 feet away from the Deauville Beach parking area into about 40 feet of water.  


Doerfler said he'd prefer an alternative that doesn't empty wastewater in any waterway.


"There’s spray irrigation that’s outside the Inland Bay watershed so it would not go into the Inland Bays. It would not go into the ocean," he said.  


The construction permits were the last hurdle for the project, although Doerfler said he's exploring legal options to block it.


Installation is expected to begin this fall and be complete around April 2018.

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