Note: This page is part of the Governor's News Archive, which holds press releases from January 2009 through September 2011. Since October 2011, recent news can be found in the Newsroom and archived news is available at news.delaware.gov.
July 16, 2010
Middletown Unveils Wastewater Program
Today, the Town of Middletown, Delaware, unveiled its recently expanded
“greener” wastewater program implemented to better manage wastewater generated by the town and a large surrounding area of southern New Castle County. The town’s wastewater treatment facility now provides reclaimed wastewater for
use in spray irrigation on public and agricultural lands in the area. Today’s unveiling
is a result of a collaborative partnership between Middletown, Artesian Water
Company (contractor), the Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA), the Delaware
Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), and the
University of Delaware (UD).
The expansion has already been a boon to two farm families in the area who were
able to beat the drought conditions during several recent weeks by receiving
reclaimed water from the Middletown Wastewater facility. As the dry ground hardened and the grass turned brown and crunchy in the Middletown area, the crops
on the Clay and Jester farms remained green and healthy.
The farmers also benefited economically because the water is pumped to the fields at no cost. They also have significant savings in energy costs because they do not
have to pump the water out of the ground.
Middletown Mayor Ken Branner said he is proud the town has completed this project, a win-win situation for the town and local farmers. He is hopeful other towns
across the state will join in the same type of effort in the future.
“There are several other towns that could greatly benefit from this type of recycling,” Branner said.
At the event, Governor Jack Markell signed a proclamation recognizing
Middletown’s water policy, and said, “This is an outstanding green success story that shows what real cooperation between the public and private sectors, among state and
local government and across agencies can achieve. This is a win-win program: Water,
a life sustaining commodity, is conserved for our future. Middletown has more
flexibility and choices in managing the treated effluent. Farmers are able to save
energy. Thank you Middletown, Artesian, and our hard-working farmers for leading
DNREC Sec. Collin O’Mara said, “The beneficial reuse of wastewater presents
tremendous environmental benefit and economic opportunity, particularly for our vital agricultural sector. Using reclaimed water spray irrigation on just one 100-acre
farm saves enough energy to power more than one home and to provide water to 130
households for a year with average rainfall. During a dry year, those numbers almost
triple. In addition, growers using reclaimed water can reduce their carbon footprint by
17,000 to 40,000 pounds of CO2 per year. Imagine how much those environmental
benefits will multiply if we divert our reclaimed water to irrigate thousands of acres
of Delaware’s rich farmland across the state.”
In closing remarks, Ed Kee, Secretary of Agriculture said, “In addition to the
environmental benefits, using recycled wastewater for crop production will be one more tool to enhance the sustainability and profitability of Delaware’s agriculture.
Profitable farms are preserved farms. In addition, the Middletown project represents
the best of Delaware’s tradition of public/private partnerships. The town of
Middletown, Artesian Water, The Delaware Department of Agriculture, DNREC and
the University of Delaware all worked hard to make this project work.”