State Takes Control of Lakes in Hope of Curbing Pollution - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

State Takes Control of Lakes in Hope of Curbing Pollution

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REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. -Silver Lake and Lake Comegys in Sussex County have been under the environmental magnifying glass this weekend, after the government announces the area will be under their control. In the aftermath of this decision, many community members are urging the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control to take action against a growing problem of pollution in these waters.

The water habitat has become degraded due to "benign neglect," according to DNREC officials speaking to the community at a meeting. Martha Dudley Keller was not at the meeting, which occurred Saturday morning, but said that action is needed. She grew up in Rehoboth Beach, and has a vacation home along Lake Silver.

"Nobody would drive by and run over a line of baby geese or baby ducks," she said. "So why wouldn't we protect the lake where they live?"

There has long been a debate about whether the area was controlled by public or private entities, but DNREC has clarified in these meetings that the water and the land that lies below it is within their control.

Frank Cooper of Rehoboth Beach said that he was at the meeting, asking questions of DNREC. He said much of the damage of the waters are due to it's role as a retention pond for the surrounding area of Rehoboth Beach.

"The runoff is not really an issue with the people who directly surround the lake," he said. "Because very little of the pollution actually comes from that. It's every rooftop, every driveway, every street in this town from a certain point on runs into this lake."

DNREC has already looked into projects to cleanup this lake, including a dredging project for one section, but they ran into financial problems in doing so. They estimated this specific project to cost $300,000 but they only got one bid, for an amount more than three times as large.

Exacerbating this high cost is that many of the companies capable of these projects are currently occupied, as they address other damaged areas across the nation such as the New Jersey coast.

"It's a very expensive proposition," he said. "And DNREC has limited funds. And this isn't the only lake that they manage. They manage a lot of properties."

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