Rehoboth, Sussex, Ocean City seek to renew biosolids permits

Renewal would allow continued land application of highly treated wastewater
April 30, 2020

Story Location:
Rehoboth Beach Wastewater Treatment Plant
2 Bay Road
Rehoboth Beach  Delaware  19971
United States

Rehoboth Beach, Sussex County and Ocean City, Md., have submitted applications to renew permits allowing them to dispose of biosolids created at their wastewater treatment plants on the land of area farms.

All three public notices announcing the applications were issued April 1 by Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. 

In Rehoboth, the current permit allows the land application of stabilized Class B biosolids from the city’s wastewater treatment facility onto an 85-acre portion of the James Wells Farm outside Milford. The city renewed its contract with the farm in February 2019 for three years, with an option for two additional years.

Sussex County has submitted an application to renew a permit allowing the subsurface application of stabilized biosolids from its South Coastal, Wolfe Neck, Inland Bays and Piney Neck regional wastewater treatment facilities onto farmland owned by the county.

According to the public notice, the operation involves the land treatment of limited quantities of biosolids that have undergone a process to significantly reduce pathogens.

Ocean City has submitted an application to renew a permit allowing the distribution and marketing of a Class A, lime-stabilized and heat-pasteurized biosolid product in Delaware. 

The production of Class A biosolids involves a stabilization process utilizing lime to raise the pH of dewatered biosolids. The process renders a pasteurized, high-alkaline product suitable for use as a soil amendment/liming agent for agricultural and horticultural uses. According to the notice, the stabilization process meets or exceeds federal and state requirements for production. 

All three notices said the biosolids and soils impacted by the three permits undergo periodic analysis for a list of specific parameters including nutrient content and metals. DNREC allows for all three permits to continue pending public notice.

Copies of all three permit applications are available by contacting Brian Churchill, Surface Water Discharges section, at 302-739-9946 or

A public hearing on the applications will not be held unless DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin determines that a public hearing is in the public interest or if a written meritorious objection to the application is received by 4:30 p.m., Friday, May 1.

Wastewater facilities construction permit application withdrawn

Sussex County had also submitted an application to construct three treated wastewater effluent spray-irrigation fields as an expansion to its existing Inland Bays Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility northeast of Millsboro. However, according to a DNREC notice April 4, the application has been withdrawn.

According to the first notice April 1, the proposed fields are to be constructed in existing forested lands owned by the county. The first field is approximately 200 acres in the area of Mount Joy, Lawson and Hollyville roads. The second field is approximately 230 acres near Townsend, Mount Joy and Inland Bay roads. The third field is approximately 100 acres on the northeast corner of Townsend and Inland Bay roads.

According to the notice April 4, this project will be readvertised at a later date after additional review by DNREC. To view all public notices go to

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