Wilmington, New Castle County reach first wastewater deal in nearly two decades

File photo: Wilmington's Wastewater Treatment Plant. (Mark Eichmann/WHYY)

File photo: Wilmington's Wastewater Treatment Plant. (Mark Eichmann/WHYY)

After more than a decade of dispute, Wilmington and New Castle County have finally come to a deal on the county’s use of the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

Delaware’s largest city and its most populous county have been bickering over wastewater since 2003. Now, for the first time since then, the two sides have reached an agreement to share costs of operating the wastewater treatment facility located near the Delaware River on the city’s east side.

Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki and County Executive Matt Meyer were able to come to an agreement after multiple meetings and phone calls.

“Neither of us wanted this to go on any longer,” Purzycki said in a statement. “We knew it was better for the residents and businesses served by both governments that the matter be settled.”

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The agreement averts even more costly legal battles. The city has spent $3 million in legal fees since 2016, with county taxpayers paying up to $5 million, according to the Wilmington News Journal.

“The agreement we came to is fair and equitable for both city and county residents and likely saved millions of dollars of legal fees that would have come from the sewer fees paid by residents across the county,” said Meyer.

The deal will last for ten years and calls for negotiations on the next deal no later than January first, 2031.

The agreement still must be signed off on by members of both city and county council. Exact details of the cost-sharing agreement weren’t not immediately released.

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