Water safety at risk thanks to Royal Farms

April 19, 2024

The headline may seem alarmist but, unfortunately, it’s true. The proposed development of the Royal Farms at the corner of Angola Road and Route 24 is a safety hazard of the highest order for thousands of Sussex County residents.

For those of us who cannot live on wine alone, water is our most important resource. So why on earth would any right-thinking member of the Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission agree to develop a gas station uphill of the Sarah Run freshwater supply that provisions thousands of Sussex residents? Even a small spill, let alone a large one, creates health hazards for anyone who relies on the source and will contaminate it for years to come. For perspective, a study by Utah State University shows that just one gallon of gasoline can contaminate up to 1 million gallons of water … and the average gas station spills 0.2 to 0.3 gallons of gasoline per day.

You’d think that would be reason enough to immediately reject the application (as it did for the 7-Eleven in the past) particularly as Royal Farms readily admits it only “minimizes environmental impact.” So, by its own admission, it doesn’t eliminate it. 

Perhaps the three members of the Sussex County Council who are up for re-election in 2024, and who appoint the members of the aforementioned P&Z commission, would do well to heed the overwhelming opposition to the project and protect the safety of Sussex County residents. Go to the Sussex County website and email the members to let them know how you feel. 

So, will we miss one additional Royal Farms more than one fresh source of uncontaminated water serving thousands of Sussex County residents? For those of you with a similar viewpoint, your voices need to be heard by our elected officials. We need to make it clear we prioritize the health and safety of our residents, and our priceless and dwindling fresh water assets, over one more gasoline station when there is one less than two minutes away from the proposed location.

David Marks
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