Rehoboth Outfall Delays Prompt Environmental Concerns - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Rehoboth Outfall Delays Prompt Environmental Concerns

Posted: Mar 30, 2018 4:24 PM Updated:

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del.- As the City of Rehoboth Beach's ocean outfall work will now push up against the summer season, some fear it could hurt local marine mammals.

"We have large whales migrating through the area. We have harbor porpoises who will be here from March through May," explains MERR Institute Executive Director Suzanne Thurman. "We'll have our sea turtles in late April-early May so these are all species that can be impacted by the construction."

Thurman says they are pleased that the new permit modifications require a marine mammal observer to be present for all in-water work that was originally supposed to end March 31st. Thurman had petitioned for the observer since the beginning.

It is anticipated the entire outfall project will be completed on or before May 23, 2018.

In a written statement announcing the project's permit modifications, Mayor Paul Kuhns said, "The city is committed to protecting our water quality and natural resources. This project is being completed as safely and quickly as possible. The construction of the ocean outfall pipeline is one of the biggest and most important projects the city is currently undertaking. Once it's completed there will be little to see, yet it's a project that has real benefits for the community."

Thurman hopes that going forward the wastewater treatment system will become even more stringent

"I would love to see the county and the city come together [...] to address the chemicals that are not going to be filtered out like the pharmaceuticals, endocrine inhibitors, heavy metals," she explains to WBOC. "Things that are really toxic not only to the animals in the water but to humans as well."

The outfall will pump treated wastewater one mile offshore. 

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