Septic owner charged with wastewater dumping

Operator says charges were a misunderstanding
April 17, 2019

A Milton septic service owner has been charged with allegedly discharging a pollutant onto a farm field without permission from the land owner.

An owner of the company denied dumping sewage and said the problem stemmed from what she characterized as a misunderstanding.

Victor Daniels III, and his wife, Lillian, own Dukes Septic Service, which is permitted to dispose of non-hazardous liquid waste at sites in Seaford, Laurel and with Clean Delaware Inc.

On March 11, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Environmental Crimes Unit found that Daniels discharged a pollutant onto a farm field without permission from the land owner. When asked what the pollutant was, DNREC spokesman Michael Globetti said the matter is still being investigated, and the department had no further comment at this time.

According to a letter from DNREC Environmental Program Manager Jack Hayes, Daniels violated regulations governing the design, installation and operation of on-site wastewater treatment and disposal systems and of Dukes Septic Service’s waste transporters permit.

DNREC required Daniels to submit a spill report, provide a groundwater assessment and submit reports of septic tank pump-outs performed by Dukes since May 2017. Failure to comply will result in further enforcement action, Hayes’ letter said.

Lillian Daniels said the problem was caused in part by faulty equipment. She said her husband, who has owned the business for two years after taking it over from his grandfather, was hauling pool water in their truck. She said Victor pulled over after noticing water leaking from the truck, which he chalked up to a loose valve. After fixing the valve, Lillian said he continued on until noticing another leak while driving on Route 54.

She said he pulled into what he thought was a property owned by a business associate where he found that a cap had broken due to too much pressure. After again fixing the issue, Lillian said Victor was then confronted by a woman in a truck, who turned out to be the owner of the property.

The police and DNREC were called in; Lillian said police were about to let Victor leave with a fine for dumping what she says was less than 500 gallons of water. Victor was eventually charged with trespassing. An arraignment was held in Delaware Court of Common Pleas April 8, but Lillian said their case is now in legal limbo until DNREC and the courts determine jurisdiction.