City studying ways to dispose of wastewater

By Lynn R. Parks

The city of Seaford has taken the first steps toward determining whether part of its golf course can be used for disposal of treated wastewater. This is in anticipation of new federal laws that will restrict the amount of waste, primarily nitrogen and phosphorus, that can be discharged into the Nanticoke River, which is part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The citys wastewater treatment plant, which discharges into the river, is permitted to treat and discharge up to 2 million gallons per day; it currently treats about 1.1 million gallons per day. A plan being worked out by the city and the state to implement the new laws indicates that the plants permitted limit will be reduced to 1.33 million gallons per day. The laws are expected to go into effect by 2015. The city has received a $43,500 grant from the state to study the suitability of the golf course as a disposal site. At its Tuesday-night meeting, the city council voted to spend $39,500 of that grant on engineering, topographic and soil studies.

Spraying treated wastewater on the golf course was part of the plan when the city purchased the former Seaford Golf and Country Club in June 2010. The golf course, which had closed the previous winter, was reopened as Hoopers Landing shortly after the citys purchase.

The effluent would be sprayed on the golf course through an irrigation system. It would be sprayed on the first nine holes only; the second nine holes of the 18-hole course are not in the city limits and are leased by the city.

In addition to cutting back on the wastewater that is dumped into the Nanticoke, the spray irrigation would also cut back on the amount of fresh water that is pumped from the ground to irrigate the golf course.

Keeping the course green uses 35 million to 40 million gallons of water a year. In his letter to the city notifying it that it had received the grant, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control secretary Collin OMara said that he hopes that the study contributes to the growing use of practices that curb the demand on our drinking water supply.

At the Tuesday-night meeting, city manager Dolores Slatcher said that this spray irrigation disposal site will probably be only the first such site that the city ultimately has. As restrictions on discharging into the Nanticoke become more strict, the city will need to look for a much larger site to accommodate its treated waste.

This is a way of getting our heads around this concept, Slatcher said. After this project is up and running, then we will move to the next level, she added.

Conducting the engineering study for the city will be engineering firm George, Miles and Buhr. Cost for their services will be $24,500.

Steven M. Adkins Land Surveying, Laurel, will conduct the topographic survey. Cost for that is $10,500. The soil study will be conducted by Atlantic Resource Management in Ocean View. That study will cost $4,500.

George, Miles and Buhr will oversee the topographic and soil studies. The engineering firm estimates that completing the studies will take about a year.

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