Long Neck Neighbors Debate Water, Sewer Districts - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Long Neck Neighbors Debate Water, Sewer Districts

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Source: Sussex County Engineering Department Source: Sussex County Engineering Department

LONG NECK, Del. - At the Winding Creek community, hundreds of neighbors have raised their concerns over a proposed sewer and water district in their community. In particular, 194 neighbors have signed affidavits against the water district, which would mean higher costs for homeowners. 

The sewer district and the water district are actually two completely different proposals, although related. The sewer district, being called The Herring Creek Sewer District, would include other communities as well, whereas the water district would only include the homes of Winding Creek. If both districts are approved by the county council, the average homeowner would see a cost of approximately $1,734. 

Jean Ward, along with various other community members have gone to County Council for the last couple months, speaking in opposition to the plans. 

"We don't want to have to pay for water that's treated with chemicals," she said. "In order to make it high quality. We already have that." 

On Feb. 13, the county held a public hearing on the sewer district, with a referendum tentatively scheduled for April 23. However after the meeting, it became clear that more information was needed, so the county set a second meeting date for May 7. No date has been set for a corresponding referendum. 

Meanwhile the water district is "likely to be discussed" at the council meeting on May 3, according to County Engineer Hans Medlarz. Following this discussion, the county can schedule another public meeting, move forward with the plan, or scrap it all together. 

The debate for both districts all began in 2012 when the community's leadership contacted the county to discuss districts. President of the Board Michael Marrone said they did so for environmental reasons. The water district would be meant to try and stop salt intrusion from the bay. Meanwhile the sewer district would be to try and limit pollution from the community septic systems. 

"The septic systems," Marrone said. "Whether they're newer and less polluting, or the older ones that are original - they are polluting the inland bays." 

But many neighbors said their concerns go beyond cost. Jeanette Cosgrove said that she considered the board's action to be inappropriate because they did so "without consulting the neighbors." 

"We never had a voice before," she said. "And there were some actions that were taken in secrecy by our board of governors."

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