Rehoboth Beach Hosts Pre-Bid Meeting for Ocean Outfall - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Rehoboth Beach Hosts Pre-Bid Meeting for Ocean Outfall

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REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. - The controversial Rehoboth Beach Ocean Outfall is one step closer to becoming a reality.

On Thursday, the City of Rehoboth Beach held four pre-bid meetings for contractors interested in working on the city's wastewater treatment plant upgrades. The first meeting was about the ocean outfall itself, and was only open to the four contractors who pre-qualified for the project--which will pump the city's treated wastewater more than a mile off Deauville Beach. Mayor Sam Cooper says the meeting was a big step towards starting construction.

"Before, we moved at such a snails pace. We measured things in how many years it took. Now we are talking about weeks and months," he tells WBOC. "So it's really picking up steam and it's exciting. Hopefully this thing is coming to an end." 

The city is accepting bids on the project until July 11th. Cooper anticipates construction will begin in October and the outfall completed by April 2018. But Gregg Rosner, a longtime opponent of the outfall, hopes that doesn't happen. He and Suzanne Thurman with the MERR Institute have filed appeals against the outfall. Rosner says its construction could be in violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act.

"We have white sided dolphins. We also have harbor porpoises, and also right whales which migrate through the area in the winter," he says. "This is a major impact for the species and Rehoboth as the applicant for these permits has to be in compliance or they face future lawsuits down the road." 

After Rosner spoke up at the pre-bid meeting, city officials said of course all projects would be in compliance with all laws. Rosner says that could mean a delay in construction, saying the state biologist has recommended that work stop when seals are in the area. Cooper says he's confident the outfall will not be harmful.

"The county has been operating their south coastal plant for 40 years with no impacts. [In] Ocean City, Maryland, [it's] the same thing," he says. "I think it's totally environmentally friendly and it's the way the city needs to deal with its wastewater."

Rosner says he's spoken with DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin on how to mitigate the outfall construction's impact on marine life. 

For more details on the outfall bid process, click here

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