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EPA Approves Delaware Plan to Improve Water Quality, Cut Greenhouse Gases

Release Date: 12/16/2014
Contact Information: David Sternberg 215-814-5548 sternberg.david@epa.gov

(PHILADELPHIA – December 16, 2014) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved a $54 million plan submitted by Delaware for clean water projects, including efforts that will improve local water quality by eliminating failing septic systems, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy improvements at wastewater treatment plants.

The Intended Use Plan approved by EPA includes $6.8 million from EPA’s FY 2014 Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF). The state’s CWSRF program makes low-interest loans to assist communities in protecting and improving water quality for drinking water, recreation and natural habitat. To fund the plan, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) has incorporated this year’s EPA grant funds with $47.2 million comprised of prior year CWSRF loan repayments, interest paid by local governments on their loans and state matching funds.

“We’re working closely with our state partners to best utilize these funds in meeting critical infrastructure needs that protect public health and the environment,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “These clean water infrastructure improvements are investments that will provide long-term benefits for Delaware communities.”

“Investing in clean water infrastructure pays tremendous dividends for Delaware’s environment and economy,” said DNREC Secretary David Small. “We appreciate EPA’s capitalization grant and along with our state matching funds and loan repayments, Delaware is maximizing funding to address critical clean water projects that help make our precious bays, rivers and streams cleaner and healthier, protect public health, and provide jobs and economic growth in our communities.”

According to the plan, Sussex County will receive $6.7 million for an infrastructure project in the Angola North region consisting of wastewater collection and transmission systems to eliminate failing septic systems.

Failing septic systems release bacteria, viruses, and chemicals toxic to local waterways. When these pollutants are released into the ground, they eventually enter streams, rivers and lakes, harming local ecosystems by killing native plants, fish, and shellfish.

The City of Lewes will receive $1.47 million for its Highland Acres wastewater collection system and another $1.62 million for its Savannah Place wastewater collection system. Both of these infrastructure improvement projects will also eliminate failing septic systems.

The City of Seaford will receive $2.01 million for its Renewable Energy Solar System project at its wastewater treatment plant. The funds will be used to install a ground mounted solar array to generate 421 kilowatts DC of energy to offset the energy consumption at the Seaford Treatment Plant. This project will significantly reduce greenhouse gases from the wastewater facility.

In addition to these projects, six others totaling $42.2 million are being funded under Delaware’s FY 2014 Intended Use Plan. Projects on the approved Intended Use Plan must commence within 18 months.

Low interest loans through the CWSRF program assist communities financially by ensuring that water and sewer rates are kept as affordable as possible while still addressing local water quality problems. All projects financed through the CWSRF are vital to protect and restore water quality in our nation’s rivers, lakes, and streams.

For additional information about Delaware’s CWSRF program and a full listing of projects in the IUP, visit: http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fab/Pages/default.aspx.