Third time was a charm.
Ellendale-area residents approved a Sussex County water district referendum 81-21 during a Sept. 15 vote.
For years, a group of Ellendale-area residents have expressed concerns to county and state officials about contaminated wells, including wells with high bacteria levels. Sussex County provides central sewer to the area, but most residents have their own wells.
A previous proposal for a larger district was defeated in a Nov. 4, 2017 referendum in the small town of 420 residents split by Route 16. An earlier request to hook up to a public system was defeated during a 2009 referendum.
The new district includes 250 homes with the majority outside town limits.
Sussex County engineer Hans Medlarz said details of the plan are subject to a county council vote. The previous plan included a county-funded subsidy to cover hook-up costs. “County council has the ultimate say in how hook-ups are approached,” Medlarz said.
Medlarz said it's anticipated it will take about 30 months before the project can be completed.
The original plan included a partnership with Artesian Water Co. Sussex County would handle billing, and Artesian would supply water and maintain the system.
The company already has established a water district within part of the proposed boundary, and residents in the two areas would have different rates.
The projected annual cost under the previous plan was $400.