Rehoboth updates wastewater agreement with Sussex County
Rehoboth will rely on Sussex County to help dispose of biosolids and sludge, through an updated wastewater treatment agreement.
Under the renewal of a 1983 agreement, Rehoboth will continue to treat Sussex County's wastewater with the county paying between 42 to 50 percent of the cost.
But there is one significant change. Rehoboth city commissioner Stan Mills says the city will no longer have to deal with the final stage in the biosolids disposal process.
"Right now we take sludge or biosolids, we de-water it to a certain point to dry it out out a little bit, transport it by tractor trailer to a farm north of here toward Milford where it’s injected into the land," Mills said.
Instead, the county will pick up Rehoboth’s biosolids and transport them to a facility where county employees can treat it further.
Representatives from the city and the county call it a win-win for both. It's a true partnership, Sussex County Administrator Todd Lawson said.
"The county is the city’s customer. We send our flow to the city’s wastewater plant, have it treated there and disposed of. This is a better reflection of the amount of flow that we send and the amount of funding we have to pay for that treatment," Lawson said.
Lawson said only in-users served by this sewer treatment facility will help pay for it, including Rehoboth, Dewey Beach and Henlopen Acres taxpayers. County taxpayers will not be a part of the operation.
"The county has its flow that comes to the town of Rehoboth. That's the Dewey Beach district as well as Henlopen Acres. That flow, representing about 42 percent right now, going to the plant, is paid for by the county or the sewer users..." Lawson said.
He continued, "someone in Laurel is not paying for something that takes place in Rehoboth."
Sussex County and Rehoboth are upgrading the agreement alongside the ocean outfall and wastewater treatment plant upgrades discussions.
Sussex County will vote on the agreement Thursday.