Rep, Ruth Briggs King, R-Georgetown, talked with attendees of a public meeting she held recently at Indian River Fire Hall to discuss 37th District residents’ flooding and drainage concerns. Officials from the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Delaware Department of Transportation and Sussex Conversation District were on hand Oct. 9 to answer the public’s questions about flooding problems they have experienced over the years in the Oak Orchard and Long Neck areas.
Per her request, DNREC made presentations on a few topics including:
• Tax ditches in general - what they are, how they are managed in Delaware and how they get approved under Delaware law
• Guinea Creek Tax Ditch project - DNREC provided an update and the time frame for the tax ditch that has been approved to go into effect in the Guinea Creek area
• Oak Orchard Flooding Study - Briggs King and Sen. Gerald Hocker, R-Ocean View, secured secured state funding this past legislative session to find solutions to ongoing flooding problems in the Oak Orchard area. DNREC discussed short-term and long-term solutions that will be implemented as part of the work being done.
Also at the meeting, there were a number of complaints about inadequate drainage even during those smaller rainfall events. Briggs King and Hocker reiterated their concern over how development projects are approved at the county level with seemingly little regard to the overall effect on stormwater management to the area.
Briggs King and Hocker have been increasingly concerned that there are potential flaws with the permitting and approval processes, and possibly even with the recommended design process, especially on large-scale development projects. As they stated at the meeting, a coordinated, countywide stormwater management effort is needed, publicly calling on Sussex County officials to meet with them at the table to discuss how to make improvements and provide long-term relief for the residents in the Oak Orchard and Long Neck areas. They said without a comprehensive plan for land development in Sussex County these flooding and drainage issues will continue to only get worse.