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January 12, 2007     Cape Gazette
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January 12, 2007

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18 - CAPE GAZETTE - Friday, January 12, Monday, January 15, 2007 Runoff Continued from page 1 years before he retired as park supervisor for Maryland's National Capital Park and Planning Commission, said the cove might be dying. "You 'can't see the bottom any- more, even on a good day. The birds are leaving, the heron, the bald eagles, the cormorants;" Zajic said. Silt pollution destroys Suspended silt endangers all aquatic life by hindering the abili- ty of sunlight to travel through the water, said Fritchman, an environ- mental scientist for 14 years and principal of Lewes-based Envirotech Environmental Consulting. "The ecology of the pond is 4, dependent on photosynthesis, Fdtchman said. Water p!ants that grow above the water and plants that grow under the water depend on water clarity for white light to be able to reach them. The sus- pended silt particles block the light and the absence of light can cause the plants to die, he said. "Many macro-invertebrates such as dragonfly larvae, damsel fly larvae and may fly larvae, acquire oxygen through gills when they are in their larval stage. They can't grow and develop With silt on their gills; they will die," said Fritchman. The larvae are the food source for the fish, and they cannot serve that purpose if they are dead, Fritchman said. "Through simple food webs silta- tion has a major impact on the habitat." Fritchman said that a 14-inch accumulation of sealed silt in the pond would be significant and added that the silt can be re-sus- pended through environmental or human activity. In addition to harming the natural environment and life forms, Fritehman said that silt pollution results in aesthetic degradation. Cause and effect After each major stormwater and sediment control failure at Nassau Grove, DNREC represen- tatives reported that the develop- ment was not in compliance with the approved plan, and each time additional safeguards and compli- ance were required. DNREC environmental pro- gram administrator Frank Piorko wrote a letter to Booth on Jan. 3, telling him that construction sites regulated by DNREC are routine- ly inspected at all stages of devel- opment and that current federal and state regulations allow for stringent enforcement of viola- tions to an approved plan. But Piorko Said in a telephone inter- view on Thursday, Jan. 11, that DNREC has imposed no enforce- ment penalties or sanctions on the developer of the Nassau Grove site. Lisa Bayko, who has lived with her family in their home on the cove at Red Mill Pond since 1989, said inspections only seem endanger the pond. "It is not enough to have them go in and try to fix things every time something goes wrong. We want the develop- er to stop polluting our pond before more damage is done," Bayko said. Unable to find anyone willing to take responsibility for the situa- tion, she contacted Booth. Booth's plan Booth agrees that proactive measures must be taken and said that sites must be consistently monitored for compliance and that sanCtions for failures to com- ply must be Strong. "There must be stages of regu- lar inspections and accountabili- ty," said Booth. "There have to be enforcement mechanisms that have teeth. If someone messes up, they should have to stop and go back to the beginning of the process." Booth also said DNREC already has the necessary personnel to conduct more ade- quate inspections. ''The problem is that they need to be given responsibility, they need to have their responsibilities better defined, and they need to be given the power to do something to meet them," Booth said. Booth's complaint is not with the construction industry as a whole. "There are good ones and bad ones," he said. "We have to make the bad ones toe the line. The good ones aren't going to complain; in fact they will proba- bly be appreciative because this will eliminate complaints and reflect better on the whole indus- try," Boo said. Representatives of K Hovnanian of Delaware LLC did not respond to requests for comment. Recent developments Following a DNREC site inspection Jan. 3, workers at the NasSau Grove development took additional measures to stop runoff, and local residents said they" were relieved when a light, Jan. 5 rain resulted in very little pollution. Those measures soon failed, however, and the next day there was silt running into the pond again, Zajic said. DNREC inspectors visited the site twice last week, on Jan. 5 and 8, and found violations. Piorko said a letter requiring corrective action will be mailed on Friday, Jan. 12. Zajic said the violations are no surprise. "The fact that Hovnanian's Nassau Grove devel- opment continues to pollute Red Mill Pond with silt upsets us because it is in our back yard, our neighborhood. The really sa d thing is that similar abuses are happening in many neighbor- hoods by many developers all over Sussex County and all over Delaware," he said. "What used tobe a  beaptiful and healthy ecosystem in 0ur state" only five or 10 years ago, is rapid- ly being degraded and soon may be gone," Zajic said. "How and when will we wake up to what we're losing and do something?" Contact Georgia Zeonhart at This scene showing silt runoff into Red Mill Pond on New Year's Day. to occur after incidents that Georgia Leonhart photos Rep. Joseph Booth, R- Georgetown, plans to intro- duce legislation aimed at preventing runoff of sedi- ment that pollutes local waters. Above, stormwater accu- mulates on the Nassau Grove construction site Jan. 1, adja- cent to Minos Conaway Road (Route 265), prior to entering the culvert that goes under the road and dumps into Red Mill Pond. At left, by Jan. 7, safeguards put in place three days earli- er were failing. Plastic had blown from large piles of soil abutting Minos Conaway Road close to the culvert leading into Red Mill Pond, allowing silt to enter the pond.