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August 14, 1998     Cape Gazette
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August 14, 1998
 

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14 -CAPE GAZETi, Fi-iday, August 14 'Au 20 +i Limits Continued from page 1 They call for tough limits on pollution, especially nitrogen and phosphorus discharge. The pro- posed standards call for the end of all point-source discharges, in- cluding the sewer plants operated by Lewes, Rehoboth Beach and Millsboro, into the bays. The new limits are called TMDLs, which stands for Total Maximum Daily Loading. They are required under a federal court order after settlement of a lawsuit over water quality in Delaware and a number of other states. But what really irked Rehoboth Beach was the fact that the state now finds itself in a rush to com- ply with the federal deadlines. It was a feeling shared by dozens of others at a meeting of an advisory I Advisory Continued fa-om page 1 weren't responsible for the poilu- tion and why should have to pay the price to clean it up. TMDLs, which stands for Total Maximum Daily Loading, are required for many Delaware waters and the Nanticoke River and inland bays TMDLs are required this year. Those requirements call for massive cuts in pollution and are mandated by settlement of a fed- eral lawsuit. That prompted state officials leading the meeting to say their hands are tied. Sergio Huerta, director of the Delaware Division of Water Re- sources, said, "we are between a rock and a hard place." "We don't think it ought to be railroaded without knowing what is going on," said Collins. James Baxter, a prominent farmer, reminded the group that "haste makes waste." "I would love to wait...but we have some serious problems in our aquatic environment," said John Schneider with the Division of Water Resources. With attendees drifting off, frustration mounting and the clock ticking past 10 p.m., the group called for a vote to ask the Envi- ronmental Protection Agency (EPA) for an extension. Huerta said he thinks there is lit- tle chance that will happen and he urged the committee members to write letters to the EPA. But after persistent pushing, especially from Ross, Huerta agreed to ask for the extension. Not only did the lack of time upset people. But the impact of the proposed TMDL requirements also raised hackles. Farmers ar- gued that the limits on phosphorus would mean soil levels of the nu- trient were so low that they couldn't even grow weeds. "Growing crops would be virtu- ally impossible," Ross said. Vlasic Pickles argued that it would be hard to remove its dis- charge into the inland bays. That's because it discharges salty water because the company makes pick- committee on the TMDL issue on Tuesday, Aug. 11. The city has spent more than $1 million on its sewer plant, but completely removing the dis- charge from the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal could cost an estimated $11.5 million. "You all want to know why big government shoves it down the little guy's throat," said Rehoboth Beach City Manager Greg Fer- rese. City solicitor Walter Speakman asked for an extension, writing, "notice given for the public hear- ing on Sept. 2 in this matter denies the city a fair, reasonable and meaningful time period to ade- quately prepare for said public hearing and present its position on the TMDL issue in a meaningful manner." Speakman said the city is re- sponsible for a small part of the problem, but faces a huge bill to los. Trying to discharge that on land is impossible because the salt would make the land sterile and unable to grow anything. Decades ago, Vlasic located on a brackish waterway at the state's request so that it could discharge into salty water, according to a plant spokesperson. Rehoboth Beach could face a bill of up to $11.5 million to re- move its sewer discharge from the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal, accord- ing to Rehoboth City solicitor Walt Speakman. Environmentalist Til Purnell ar- gued that the poultry industry could help deal with pollution problems by tacking a half cent a pound onto chicken prices. But Bill Satterfield, executive director of Delmarva Poultry In- dustry, said that half a penny a pound would make the business vulnerable to poultry competition from elsewhere. "Half a cent would drive the industry out of here," Satterfield said. "I can't believe that," Purnell said. "Growers get less than half a pound," Ross replied. "I had chicken for lunch and for dinner today," Schneider said. "We don't want the industry hurt...We do not want to do it like Maryland. Wedo not want to ad- dress agriculture that way." But Purneil made a point of say- ing that people should not pick on agriculture. She argued that devel- opment must bear some of the re- sponsibility and said everyone must work together. "I think there is a lot of problem for everybody," Purnell said. "It is time somebody bit the bullet." Specifically, here are the pro- posed recommendations. All point-sources that are dis- charging into the Indian River, In- dian River Bay and Reh0both Bay and their tributaries shall be elimi- nated systematically. Atmospheric nitrogen deposi- tion shall be reduced 20 percent. Nonpoint source nitrogen and phosphorus from tributaries shall be cut at least 40 percent. In some cases, the pollution must be cut 65 percent. clean up only a fraction of the bay's pollution. Ferrese and Re- hoboth Beach Mayor Sam Cooper also objected, saying that the state needs more time and more science before it makes such expensive decisions. Many scientists believe the biggest pollution source comes from septic systems and other non-point pollution, such as farm runoff and runoff from residential development. "We are not the source of the problem," Speakman said. While most of the pollution in the bays is not believed to come from point-source discharges like sewer plants, that pollution can still be significant according to Kent Price, a University of Delaware professor and former chair of Delaware's Center for the Inland Bays. Price said that the Lewes-Re- hoboth Canal, where Rehoboth Beach discharges its treated wastewater, had eight to 10 times the acceptable level of phospho- rus. Rehoboth Bay has four to five times the acceptable environmen- tal levels of phosphorus. That nu- trient has been linked to a major pollution problem in Rehoboth Bay. Specifically, it is tied directly to sea lettuce blooms, Price said. Despite major improvements in the treatment of its waste, Re- hoboth Beach's plant, which meets all discharge permits, still is considered a major phosphorus source. Point sources contribute and gentlemen, if you don't be- an estimated 52 percent of phos- lieve scientific data can be manip- phorus to the bay. But Speakman ulated...You have a lot to learn," remained unconvinced. "Ladies said Speakman. New workshop helps citizens become wetland stewards A new wetlands conservation and sustainability workshop developed by the Izaak Walton League of America (IWLA) is now available to the public, along with a newly revised wetlands handbook. Both the two- day workshop and handbook are part of the IWLA's Save Our Streams Wetlands Conservation and Sustainability Initiative, which is funded with grants from the Environmental Protection Agency's Wetlands Di- vision, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Moriah Fund. At the workshop, local scientists and IWLA staff members discuss wet- land ecology, functions and values. Participants also receive a copy of the "Handbook for Wetlands Conservation and Sustainability." Service o o Memorial for Robert Elbaz will be held at St. Edmond's Church in Rehoboth Beach on Tuesday, August 18 at I I:00 a.m. Family and friends are invited to attend. Announcing a new bachelor's degree opportunity in Southern Delaware: Courses held in the Carter Partnership Center in Georgetown On-site academic advisement Classes designed to fit busy schedules This interdisciplinary degree draws on Anthropology, Criminal Justice, Economics, Geography, Individual andFamily Studies, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology. It can expand your understanding of the world, strengthen your communications skills, and enhance your ability to think critically-- all of which are attractive qualifications to .prospective employers. If you already have earned some college credits, you may be able to apply them to your Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies degree. Check with a counselor in our ACCESS Center for returning adult students (302/855-1630). For a free information packet or details about fall course offerings, call 302/855-1630. Dirision of Continuing Education "the Univesi W d Delaware is an Equal Opportunity University.