Sussex County has issued a notice of violation to a property owner on Silver Lake for dumping an unknown amount of fill along the southwestern edge of the lake, between Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach.
The dumping of the fill came to light when neighbors and members of Save Our Lakes Alliance3 brought it to the attention of the county.
Rick Hardy, SOLA3 treasurer, said this has been an issue since the property owner began removing underbrush and trees this past summer. There hadn’t been much work done since then, but in the last month or so, there’s been more and more dirt added, he said.
“That’s typical,” said Hardy, estimating 25 to 30 dump trucks of dirt in the past week that have added 8 feet of height to the area. “They’re trying to do the work when all the neighbors are away.”
Chip Guy, Sussex County spokesperson, said the county has issued notice of violation and ordered a halt to the movement of fill onto the parcel. This allows the county to assess the situation and work with the property owner to resolve the matter, he said.
Hardy said there’s been no land survey done, no plans for the project submitted and he’s concerned the project doesn’t meet flood zone standards. There’s also a pipe connecting Lake Comegys to Silver Lake, and there’s no way to know how that’s being affected, he said.
“No one knows what’s really going on,” said Hardy. “This is an area of the lake with a lot of habitat, and it’s all been destroyed.”
The Sussex Conservation District requires permits be obtained for projects that disturb 5,000 square feet or more for residential, commercial, industrial, agricultural and institutional land uses. Earth disturbance may include, but is not limited to, home construction, septic installation, driveway and lot grading.
David Baird, Sussex Conservation District coordinator, said SCD is aware of the project, and a sediment and stormwater permit has been issued because the proposed earth work is being done in compliance with the state regulations.
SCD issued a permit in July to property owner Anthony Crivella, who, when reached for comment, said he had none, other than that he is cooperating with all authorities.
Despite the work being feet away from Silver Lake and owning the land that surrounds the property in question, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control isn’t taking any responsibility over the project.
“This is a city/county issue,” said Michael Globetti, DNREC spokesperson, in an email Feb. 8.