New Bids, Updated Timeline for Rehoboth Beach's Wastewater Proje - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

New Bids, Updated Timeline for Rehoboth Beach's Wastewater Projects

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REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. - Engineers for the City of Rehoboth Beach's wastewater treatment upgrades project say the city's ocean outfall will be complete by April 2018, with work to begin in October of this year.

At a special meeting for the board of commissioners, GHD Engineer Jeff Sturdevant told the commissioners they are "very optimistic" that they will receive approved permits from the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control regarding the outfall within the month of March. He said the outfall's design was 95 percent complete and they are in the final phases of outfall contractor pre-qualification.

"We are on the crux of starting to build these facilities very soon," he told the board.

The outfall is just a portion of the city's $52.5 million project, which also includes improving the city's current wastewater treatment plant. In the same meeting, the board unanimously approved two bids on the plant's clarifier and filtration systems, which came in roughly $200,000 under budget.

Sturdevant said GHD had budgeted $450,000 for filtration equipment, but the accepted bid--from company Evoqua-- came in at $357,897. The clarifier equipment was budgeted at $360,000 and the accepted bid--from Walker Technologies--totaled just $248,000.

The city said these bids addressed an incident last summer, where one piece of equipment malfunctioned and briefly caused a biological upset in the canal, where the city's treated wastewater currently flows. Sturdevant said it also keeps the project on time.

"These bids are very important because we have a permit that we have to meet every day of the year," he told WBOC. "We are kind of looking ahead to make sure we have backup equipment in place in case we need to switch equipment on and off to maintain the permit." 

Sturdevant said now that they can put the projects out to bid, they expect work to begin this August or September, with the filtration upgrade done this year, and the clarifier completed by April 2018, the same time they expect the ocean outfall to be done. But Gregg Rosner with the Surfrider Foundation--a longtime opponent of the outfall--said his organization does not believe the project will be done on time and the outfall is not in line with the new administration's environmental objectives.

"We have faith in Governor Carney and his new DNREC secretary," he told WBOC. "We have met with their staff. They're aware there are viable alternatives [to an ocean outfall]."

Rosner also cited last year's violation as enough evidence to press pause on any potential outfall.

"The key thing is they had a clear Clean Water Act violation in 2016. They have a substandard waste water facility right now. And now they want to get approved for this ocean outfall? They've proved they can't handle this," he said. "How can we trust them with an ocean outfall which would be going out into the ocean into endangered species when they're running their wastewater facility like this?"

Rosner said the Surfrider legal team also believes the project does not conform with state and federal regulations. But in Monday's meeting, Sturdevant said all local, state and federal permits had been submitted. 

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