Sussex County Taps into Tidewater Plant Treatment

Middlesex Water Company, a provider of water and wastewater services in New Jersey and Delaware, on Jan. 23 announced that its Delaware subsidiary, Tidewater Environmental Services, Inc., has placed into service a new advanced wastewater treatment facility that is quickly addressing immediate and long-term needs in Sussex County, Del.

For several years, the residents of the Woods on Herring Creek have been burdened with a failed community septic system that allowed sewage to pool on top of the ground in the residential community. The county recently took the system over as it established a county sewer district in this area. Located near Angola in the environmentally sensitive Inland Bays Watershed, this aged system only marginally removed certain pollutants, including harmful nitrates, that could make their way into local area residents' drinking water.

Nearby was a recently constructed advanced wastewater treatment facility, owned by Tidewater. It was built to serve the newer community of Bay Front but was not being fully utilized pending further build-out of the Bay Front community.

Partnering with Tidewater, Sussex County selected Tidewater to provide temporary treatment and disposal services at the Bay Front plant for a period of 24-36 months, while the county designs and installs the necessary infrastructure to serve this area. The county was able to install a short force main just a few hundred feet away and discharge into the Bay Front system, thus saving the county monies for pumping and hauling wastewater by truck while its system is being designed. "We were pleased to solve the long-standing problem for the residents of the Woods on Herring Creek," said Sussex County Engineer Mike Izzo. "The location and capability of Tidewater's facility presented an ideal solution," he added.

The Bay Front Facility is a highly-advanced membrane bioreactor. The clear effluent discharged from the plant will meet nitrate limits that are less than half of that required by Delaware's drinking water standards. This approach yields long-term environmental benefits because water discharged into sand rapid infiltration basins also serves to recharge groundwater aquifers, thus preventing salt water intrusion into area wells.

"We are extremely gratified that Tidewater and the county could come to agreement on this solution," said Lee Lindsay, Woods on Herring Creek Homeowners Association Wastewater Committee chair. "This arrangement is a perfect example of a win - win - win solution; benefitting county government, local area residents, and the environment. We look forward to having a final resolution to this problem we've been tolerating for many, many years," he added.

Tidewater Utilities, Inc. operates over 150 water and wastewater plants in Delaware for over 100,000 citizens.