Rehoboth wastewater plant cited for violations

Plant manager: paperwork issue, not environmental
Record-keeping errors have led to Rehoboth Beach's wastewater treatment plant being served a notice of violation by the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control for the second time in as many months. DNREC officials say the violation has nothing to do with the plant's effluent treating capability. BY FILE
December 4, 2013

As a result of record-keeping and paperwork snafus the Rehoboth Beach wastewater treatment plant has been slapped with a notice of violation by the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

This is the second time in a little more than two months the plant has been cited by DNREC.

Bob Stenger, manager of the plant, said the violations were a paperwork and documentation issue, not an environmental problem. The plant was cited for a violation in September related to missed dissolved oxygen tests, which Stenger attributed to equipment breakdowns and tests done by outside firms not being documented in the plant's official paperwork.

Stenger said he responded to the September violation, but the department asked for additional items.

Glenn Davis, project manager of DNREC’s Compliance and Enforcement Branch, agreed with Stenger that the notice of violation had nothing to do with the treatment of effluent at the plant. He said the plant was cited when followup visits revealed tests that were not done when they should have been done or were done but not documented. Davis said as a result of additional undocumented tests the plant received a notice of violation.

Davis said one paperwork problem arose when the plant farmed out a test to an outside vendor after the plant’s equipment malfunctioned. While it had the test results, Davis said those results were not logged onto reports provided to DNREC.

Stenger said efforts are underway to respond to the Nov. 26 violation notice including purchasing backup equipment. Davis said Stenger has been cooperative and the plant’s reporting has improved.

He said the violations are unrelated to Rehoboth’s wastewater outfall project, which includes a proposed $10 million upgrade of the plant. Rehoboth officials have been waiting since May for DNREC to approve the city’s environmental impact statement. Approval is required for the city to receive state funding. A decision was expected earlier this summer, then by the end of July, then by September.

DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara has not responded to requests for comment.

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