It's rare that citizens shake the hands and cheer for engineers. But that's just what happened during Sussex County Council's Oct. 2 meeting when council officially ratified a new Ellendale central water district.
For more than three decades and two failed referendums, residents have complained to county and state officials about the quality of their well water. Residents approved the latest referendum 81-12 Sept. 15.
County engineer Hans Medlarz said as soon as the previous referendum was defeated Nov. 4, 2017, residents approached the county with a new petition. Medlarz said the new district is smaller than the previous one and excludes a large area in town limits containing land along North Old State Road and South Old State Road.
Melarz said county staff has work to do before the project can commence. First on the list is an agreement with Artesian Water Co., which will provide water from its plant in Ingram Village in Ellendale.
County staff will have to secure rights of way through purchase or condemnation and county financial staff will start the process to apply for state grants. “It will take a lot of grant money to make this happen,” Medlarz said. “It may require two fiscal funding years, but we will move as fast as possible.” “Hopefully this will move along very expeditiously,” said Council President Mike Vincent, R-Seaford.
Councilman Rob Arlett, R-Frankford, told Medlarz to let council know if there is anything they can do to expedite the process.
Medlarz responded that he would strive to present an agreement with Artesian before Arlett and Councilman George Cole, R-Ocean View, leave council at the end of the year. “That will put the financial milestones in place,” he said