Green Delaware letter to Mayor Sills on CSO Clean Up
Hon. James H. Sills, Jr.
August 16, 2000
RE: Exposure of Wilmington's Children to Raw Sewage Dumped by City
Dear Mayor Sills:
As you know, getting rid of Delaware's Combined Sewer Overflows has been a priority of ours for years. With the incineration problem somewhat laid to rest, we have recently been able to focus our resources on the CSOs. I hope its clear to all that we will not rest until every CSO has been eliminated.
On the other hand, we have always agreed that the cost of this should not fall entirely on the City. We have said many times that the City, County, State, and Federal governments should work together with non-governmental organizations such as Green Delaware to solve this problem, and a substantial Federal contribution should be sought.
Our problem is that the City (both Council and your administration)
has so far not been willing to work with us in good faith. Consider
your absurd Long Term Control Plan, filed with DNREC, which proposes to
partially clean up 11 CSOs in 19 years, and leave the rest forever.
This document has cost the City much of it's remaining credibility.
I was glad to hear you say
We are only interested in supporting expenditures that are part of a rational plan to eliminate the CSOs. This will not be simple or inexpensive, but is surely within the technical and financial resources available to us.
You are probably aware that the Public Works Department has retained one consulting firm after another to work on the CSO problem, but has yet to develop an acceptable plan. In our view this is because the focus has been on "compliance," or "what is the least we can get away with?," rather than on solving the problem. The Delaware Division of Water Resources and EPA Region III have, shamefully, encouraged the City to think in these terms.
Green Delaware is willing to try to assist the City in developing sensible solutions, and in finding the needed funding. We will oppose funding for activities that seem ill-conceived, or that are not aimed at the complete elimination of the CSOs.
We think a good beginning would be for the City to make a commitment to eliminate the CSOs by Jan 1, 2008, as called for in House Bill 671. Once this is agreed upon as a common goal, it will be much easier for the various interested parties to work together to get this underway.
Again, we are willing to work with the City of Wilmington. Sometimes people ask me why the City tries to ignore us rather than trying to take advantage of the expertise available to our organization.
Yours very truly,
Alan J. Muller
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was last updated on August 29, 2000.