Artesian seeks permit for force main

June 27, 2019

Artesian Water Company is asking for a permit to build over 5,800 linear feet of pipe to serve two spray irrigation fields north of Milton.

A public hearing on the permit application was held by Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control on June 13 at Mariner Middle School, although only three members of the public showed up.

Artesian is proposing to build the pipe to run north, parallel to Route 30, before shifting northwest toward the intersection of Route 30 and Reynolds Pond Road. From there, the pipe will split into two sections, one crossing Reynolds Pond Road and running north, while the other will cross Route 30 and run west.

The pipes are part of the company’s Sussex Regional Recharge Facility and will service two fields north of the main spray field adjacent to Kemp’s Liquors at the intersection of Route 30 and Route 16. Artesian does not anticipate road closures during construction.

Daniel Konstanski, the engineer of the pipeline for Artesian, said, “This is pretty straightforward. This is connecting the existing SRRF discharge and pump station to existing spray rigs that were permitted under a separate permit. This is just a pipeline.”

The 1,700-acre facility contains a 90-million-gallon storage lagoon with rolling spray rigs for the open fields and solid set sprinklers for the fields in the woods. The project has aroused controversy, in part, for the facility’s first customer: Allen Harim’s poultry processing plant in Harbeson. The plan is for Allen Harim to treat its wastewater on-site and then pump to Artesian’s spray irrigation facility, where the treated effluent will be sprayed on cropland.

Environmental advocates have questioned the treatment of the effluent by Allen Harim, the effects on groundwater around Milton, and the main spray field’s proximity to the Clean Delaware spray fields across the street.

Milton resident Keith Steck asked a series of questions about whether the Artesian spray fields are being used now and if all the parcels had been approved for conditional use. Steck also questioned if crops - Artesian has said corn will be grown at the site - are the main driver of the project. No questions were answered at the hearing, but hearing officer Lisa Vest said DNREC will consider the questions in its decision on the permit.