Public workshop for future of Del. pickle plant

Delaware’s Dept. of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has scheduled a public workshop in Millsboro Thursday to discuss the potential redevelopment of the former Vlasic pickle plant.Poultry producer and exporter Allen Harim Foods is in the beginning stages of negotiations with DNREC to purchase the Dagsboro site and convert it into a chicken processing plant. The estimated investment of $100 million is expected to bring with it 700 jobs.

DNREC’s Community Involvement Advisory Council says the workshop and Q&A session will give residents a chance to air their concerns and hear from DNREC how it’s addressing environmental issues, should the acquisition come to pass.Environmental groups and people living near the site on Pinnacle Way have gone on record with concerns about increased truck traffic, odors wafting from the plant, wastewater disposal and vestigial pollutants in the groundwater from the site’s pickle factory days.  
CIAC says Thursday’s workshop is the result of the public’s initial reaction to the development agreement. DNREC subject matter experts will be present at the workshop to address specific questions about the site, as well as provide an overview of the permitting process.

The Department of Health and Social Services’ Office of Drinking Water will also be present to answer questions focused on surrounding community drinking water systems. Allen Harim’s plans include a $10 million upgrade to Vlasic’s wastewater treatment system and the installation of an odor eliminating system, according to the company’s website.

The CIAC is an 11-member body appointed by the governor to enable communities to interact with DNREC. It is also responsible for increasing community participation and the flow of information between communities and the department.

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Thursday’s meeting is scheduled from 3-5 p.m. at the Millsboro Town Hall, 322 Wilson Highway. A second opportunity for public comment is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 4, at the Millsboro Fire Hall, 109 E. State Street, starting at 6 p.m.

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