Report: Sea Level Rise Could Make Seaford Wastewater Plant "Vuln - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Report: Sea Level Rise Could Make Seaford Wastewater Plant "Vulnerable"

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The Nanticoke river cuts through downtown Seaford (Photo: Evan Koslof) The Nanticoke river cuts through downtown Seaford (Photo: Evan Koslof)

SEAFORD, Del.- The results of a Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Study indicate that Seaford's Wastewater Treatment Facility could be vulnerable, within the next 30 years. The study, which cost approximately $12,000 in state and local funds, found that many aspects of the plant would be "vulnerable," as sea level continues to rise. 

"Here in Seaford," said Assistant City Manager Charles Anderson, "We're on a tributary of the Nanticoke that runs to the Chesapeake Bay. And we have to be as concerned with sea level rise as those beach communities." 

The study results showed that areas like Nanticoke Avenue, the grit chamber bypass vault, and even the primary pumping station, could be at risk if nothing is done. The study also recommends possible changes, that should be made during their expected 2023 upgrade.

"It's much easier," Anderson said, "And much cheaper to fix a problem before it occurs than afterward. So this is a pound of prevention." 

The study indicates that sea level rise is even more significant on the Delmarva peninsula than the rest of the country, due to "land subsidence," which they define as the "sinking of the Earth's surface," often caused by "aquifer compaction due to extensive withdrawal of groundwater." 

"The historical rate of sea level rise within the Chesapeake Bay region is about double that of other parts of the world, due to land subsidence," the study wrote. 

DNREC's Delaware Coastal Programs predicted that tidal rivers are expected to rise by .5 to 1.5 meters by the end of the century. That is equivalent to an average increase of six to 18 mm per year. 

The results were presented at Seaford's Tuesday night council meeting.

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