Rehoboth should move on with ocean outfall

July 4, 2014

The recent suggestion by Tom McGlone, candidate for mayor of Rehoboth Beach, favoring the spray irrigation method of wastewater disposal ignores scientific facts and the long history of the city on this issue.

The City of Rehoboth Beach conducted a thorough process, with significant expert and public participation of over 100 citizens, to select an alternative discharge point for its treated wastewater. The city made a reasoned and well documented decision, for multiple reasons, to select ocean outfall as its preferred alternative. Since then, the city prepared an Environmental Impact Statement in support of that decision and forwarded it to state officials for approval.

Every reasonable alternative to the ocean outfall approach (six alternatives total, with several sub-alternatives) were fully analyzed as to potential environmental impacts including the advantages and disadvantages of each.

At the end of this thorough analysis, ocean outfall clearly emerged as the superior choice for the City of Rehoboth Beach under the specific circumstances in our location. When the clearly acceptable environmental impacts are combined with the very significant cost and operational advantages of ocean outfall, it becomes clear that the city's initial decision on this approach is the right one.

The environmental impacts of ocean outfall have been fully assessed and it is clear that it presents superior results as compared to the alternatives, well within the acceptable range given the environmental objective of moving the wastewater discharge point from its present location in order to protect the inland bays.

Ultimately, the conclusion is clear: ocean outfall is superior, as contrasted with other alternatives such as land application, because of its minimal environmental impact, and its financial feasibility. Ocean outfall has relatively low operational requirements, requires the least maintenance and, most importantly, does not transport nutrients into the inland bays, nor dispose of them near the bays. Ocean outfall is also the most cost-effective solution for the city. The Environmental Impact Study says that ocean outfall is the most "practical solution considering the availability of land and the protection of groundwater and water quality of the Inland Bays. Also, this alternative has the lowest impact on estimated user charges and greatest acceptance by citizens of Rehoboth Beach.”

In conclusion, the city does not need to reconsider this carefully considered preferred alternative of wastewater disposal. Led by Mayor Cooper and the commissioners, this choice was thoughtful, made on the merits, and has been substantively confirmed by the Environmental Impact Study. We need to continue moving the city forward, not backward. We need a mayor who is knowledgeable and knows this important subject well, not one who needs on the job training in every aspect. We need to re-elect Mayor Sam Cooper.

Guy R. Martin
Rehoboth Beach

  • 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.