Delaware Governor Jack Markell proposes spending more than $2 million to improve the state’s water infrastructure.
The improvements include $600,000 to construct and operate an expanded groundwater-monitoring network in southern New Castle County and northern Kent County. Markell wants to send $2 million to the Delaware Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF), which can be combined with federal money to help municipalities fund water infrastructure projects.
“The idea of investing in infrastructure to repair and expand our wastewater treatment plants and sewer systems is important for the safety and the health of the people throughout our state, and it’s also critical for our ongoing economic growth,” said Markell. “You can’t grow a healthy company without clean water.”
The SRF funds would help three projects move forward. The first, an extension of county sewer service to the mobile home parks of Grandview in the East Dover area, M&S, and Oak Grove. The $1.14 million project would eliminate individual septic systems in the area. The second project would use $1.7 million to address the ongoing combined sewer overflow problem in the Kentmere and Union areas of the city of Wilmington. The third project would also help the city, using $1.5 million to improve monitoring and sampling at Wilmington’s Wastewater Treatment Plant.
The SRF funds come to local governments in the form of loans. “We’ll help them with low interest rates and having repayment schedules that make sense,” said Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Collin O’Mara. “It really is a way for the local governments to be able to afford these projects, ammortize the costs over a long period of time, and at the same time, make sure they’re making upgrades now, instead of waiting.”
Markell made his announcement at the Kent County Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility, which also received the PISCES award from the EPA on Thursday. The award, which is an acronym only a bureaucrat could love, stands for Performance and Innovation in the SRF Creating Environmental Success. The award comes after the facility completed a number of upgrades including a renewable energy park with 6,000 solar panels that reduces operating costs at the site by about 20 percent.