FREDERICA, Del.- We use water every day for just about everything. Kent County officials want to make sure water stays clean by using a special system to treat wastewater.
Kent County Public Works Director Hans Medlarz said the chief goal of workers at the county's wastewater treatment plant is to keep the water clean.
"The wastewater has to be fully disinfected. In order to reach this infection we use chemicals or you can use UV light. We have in the past used chlorine," Medlarz said.
Chlorine was the most common way, Medlarz said, to disinfect water.
"The UV is a much more environmentally-friendly process and we employed it in the last two and a half years," said Medlarz.
Wastewater is disinfected using what is called the "Severn Trent's Microdynamics UV System" - considered the largest in the world.
When wastewater passes through tall, clear tubes, the UV light kills pathogens, or prevents harmful cells from mutating.
"This was the first in the United States to employ this technology, not the UV disinfection, but the UV disinfection without the filaments in the tubes, where we did not have to use tubes that have to be underwater at all times. They can be exposed," Medlarz said.
The plant receives wastewater from not only Kent County, but southern portions of New Castle County and northern Sussex County. Treated wastewater is discharged to a tributary of the Murderkill River.
The plant has won several Environmental Protection Agency awards since 1998.