Why you should say no to the Rehoboth Outfall

Proposed ocean outfall in Rehoboth Beach
Proposed ocean outfall in Rehoboth Beach

The other day I attended the appeal about the outfall that The Surfrider foundation brought against DNREC about the proposed ocean outfall.   I was there to testify why this would be bad for fishing and the future of fishing in Delaware.  Long story short the appeal was denied and we were not heard by the panel.  Sadly on Saturday the ocean outfall proposal will be voted on by only property and business owners of Rehoboth beach, but will effect the entire state and Sussex county (costs as well as environment).  I don’t think many people know the true nature of the details of this issue.  I have been following this for a while now, but someone I know has been following it for a long time and knows the details inside and out.  Greg Rosner wrote a great editorial to the Cape Gazette which he allowed me to repost below.  It sums up why the outfall is not a good solution to this issue.  If you know a Rehoboth property owner or business owner that can or is voting on this, urge them to vote NO.

 

Why you should say no to the Rehoboth Outfall … by Greg Rosner 

So what’s the real cost of the Ocean Outfall Project for Rehoboth?

The $25 million put in the slide show on the city’s site last month?

The $31 million said by the GHD engineering firm at a commissioners’ meeting in April?

Or the $28 million quoted in the mailing from the city earlier this month?

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$45-50 million payable in the year 2020.

If you chose D you are correct. The DNREC procedural blunder of not considering federal and state laws in the design of the outfall location, is fatal to the project. The regulatory process to review any controversial aspects of the proposed outfall, is required according to NEPA standards. Since 1979, Delaware hasn’t attempted to permit an ocean outfall for discharge. State laws have changed since then to protect species and habitat. And I’m not even including the fixing of the other five storm drain ocean outfalls in Rehoboth Beach. Yet another required project with no cost absolutes!

DNREC’s options are either to disregard existing Delaware regulations and laws or completely relocate the diffuser location at a huge cost to taxpayers in Rehoboth. They have painted themselves in a corner with no exit strategy. As stated in the Record of Decision, they have that redesign option. But since no one has actually read the document, don’t worry about the fine print.

There also seems to be confusion about the anticipated impacts to ocean health of an outfall located in the Hen and Chicken Shoals. According to the NOAA letter dated May 11, 2012, upon DNREC’s request for agency comments; “Based upon our review of the information provided, it appears that the proposed project will adversely affect EFH.” (Essential Fish Habitat) Both the City of Rehoboth Beach and Rehoboth Beach Homeowners’ Association have misrepresented this important conclusion by a federal agency. Yes, the outfall will have a negative impact to the ocean environment to the detriment of aquatic species and ultimately us.

I urge everyone to vote NO on the referendum. DNREC Secretary Small can and must provide a supplemental EIS for all the alternatives for 2015, the proper public presentation of facts and monetary figures by professional companies that handle wastewater solutions. For many important reasons the secretary owes the taxpaying citizens a professional courtesy with this matter.

Gregg Rosner
West Fenwick Island

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