DNREC’s integrity at stake with Pinnacle

January 17, 2014

The integrity of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control as a regulatory agency to uphold community standards requires immediate examination and scrutiny.

With this current debacle of the Pinnacle Foods complex remediation, Secretary O’Mara can no longer declare he is a proponent of clean environments for Delaware. Additionally, the allowance of more multi-source pollution in the Inland Bays is unacceptable. By their own report card, The Center for Inland Bays grades the swimmable and fishable coastal waters to be a D-plus.

Non-point source pollution from the needed 50 percent increase in local chicken production to supply Allen Harim will degrade the 600-square-mile watershed significantly. This industry will require disposal of wastewater (a NPDES permit) or a proposal for RIBs, a rapid infiltration basin which “recharges” the aquifer.

Given the lack of responsible evaluations of well water contamination presently, DNREC faces significant legal challenges from organized opponents.

Recent administrative oversight from EPA headquarters disavowed the attempt by Secretary O’Mara to transfer an expired NPDES permit to a non-conforming use for Harim Industries. The DNREC administrative process is hardly representative of fairness, transparency and accountability to cumulative impacts regarding public health and safety on this issue.

Furthermore, in 2014, Delaware plans to rewrite the Coastal Zone Management Act, allowing for more industrialization of shorelines, and continue the permitting process for a new Rehoboth Beach ocean outfall (for municipal wastewater effluent) flowing directly into habitat for endangered and threatened species.

Violating Delaware Section 7 Administrative Codes, setting pernicious legal precedents and continual desecration of the coastal bays and oceans is all part of the future playbook for DNREC.

Gregg Rosner
West Fenwick Island

  • A letter to the editor expresses a reader's opinion and, as such, is not reflective of the editorial opinions of this newspaper.

    To submit a letter to the editor for publishing, send an email to Letters must be signed and include a telephone number for verification. Please keep letters to 650 words or fewer.  We reserve the right to edit for content and length.