Utility honored for five-year, 100 percent compliance record

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) has presented the Clean Water Partnership Award to the Lewes (Del.) Board of Public Works and Severn Trent Services for meeting 100 percent of the compliance effluent discharge requirements for five consecutive years at the Howard H. Seymour Water Reclamation Plant in Lewes. The plant is operated by Severn Trent through a public-private partnership.

FORT WASHINGTON, PA, Sept. 18, 2012 -- The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) has presented the Clean Water Partnership Award to the Lewes (Del.) Board of Public Works and Severn Trent Services for meeting 100 percent of the compliance effluent discharge requirements for five consecutive years at the Howard H. Seymour Water Reclamation Plant in Lewes. The plant is operated by Severn Trent through a public-private partnership.

The award was created by the State of Delaware Wastewater Operator’s Board of Certification to recognize facilities that have reported no non-compliances in the monthly discharge monitoring reports required under their National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.

Glenn F. Davis of the DNREC said, “This award is especially significant when it is understood that every month there are 160 opportunities for the treatment plant to have a violation – that is just under 2,000 per year. During the five years covered by this award, that equates to approximately 9,600 opportunities, and the Lewes board had zero violations. This is quite an achievement.”

In 2005, the Lewes board made the decision to upgrade the Seymour plant due to difficulty in meeting discharge standards and increased loadings experienced during the tourist season. The upgraded plant, completed in 2008, doubled its capacity from 0.75 mgd to 1.5 mgd and features a membrane bioreactor process (MBR) – the first of its kind in Delaware. The MBR combines ultrafiltration with biological treatment, which is followed by ultraviolet light treatment for disinfection. The result is extremely high quality effluent that exceeds the standards required for discharge into the Lewes Rehoboth Canal.

“The plant’s improved performance not only helps protect Delaware’s Inland Bays, but saved money by enabling us to avoid construction of a more distant and costly discharge point,” said Chris Morss, vice president of business development for Severn Trent Services. “The MBR has also enabled us to more efficiently handle the variable flows of our beach community’s summertime water use.”

According to Darrin Gordon, general manager of the Lewes board, “The board has contracted with Severn Trent for more than seven years. We feel that our contract is treated more like a partnership than an owner/vendor relationship. With the partnership approach, we have held O&M costs in check while producing excellent effluent – a combination that is largely responsible for our receiving the Clean Water Partnership Award.”

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