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Middletown Transcript
  • New program turns wastewater into spray irrigation

  •     A few local farmers no longer have to worry about their crops when drought season comes around.     The Town of Middletown has teamed up with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control, the Delaware Department of Agriculture and the University of De...
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  •     A few local farmers no longer have to worry about their crops when drought season comes around.
        The Town of Middletown has teamed up with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control, the Delaware Department of Agriculture and the University of Delaware to recycle treated wastewater that will be used in spray irrigation on public and agricultural lands in the surrounding area to water the crops and grasses.
        Town and state officials, farming families and Artesian Water employees gathered at Levels Road Park July 16 to witness the Town unveil the new wastewater program and celebrate its inception.
         During the event, Middletown Mayor Kenny Branner Jr. said millions of gallons of water are now being pumped from the Town’s wastewater facility on Industrial Drive to the Clay farm, located at Levels Road and Route 301, the Jester farm in Townsend and on public grounds like Levels Road Park itself.
        “Doing this not only helps the farmers with their need of water supply, but the environment is spared in many ways,” he said. “There’s no fuel costs for the farmers to pump the water and aquifers are not being depleted. By supplying water to the farms and earmarking local farms for spray, we’re hoping to preserve farmland around the Town of Middletown.”
        Branner said the Town also hopes this effort will increase economic development in New Castle County. 
        Kristen Krenzer, public relations officer for the Town of Middletown, said sewer capacity in New Castle County is currently limited, which can affect development. Middletown’s program will open up new opportunities for areas surrounding Middletown to send their wastewater.
        “Hopefully being able to help our neighbors, we’ll be able to jumpstart building in the local area and get our economy moving forward,” Branner said.
        Branner said the project only took nine months to complete thanks to the collaboration and hard work of all the agencies involved.
        He said he is hopeful that other towns across the state will join in this effort and do the same thing in the future.
        “There are several other towns that could greatly benefit from this type of recycling,” Branner said.
        Gov. Jack Markell signed a proclamation recognizing Middletown’s water policy and said it is exciting to see so many agencies and organization come together to preserve a natural resource.
        “We are stewards of the land not just for ourselves and not just for the next generation, but for generations to come,” he said. “When we have opportunities to take this wastewater, to treat it properly, to allow it then to irrigate our cropland, this is what it’s all about, and I want to say I’m very proud of the team.”
        Farmer Larry Jester said he decided to get involved in the project because of the benefits is has on his costs and his crops. He has been receiving the water since May 26. Because the water is pumped directly to the fields at no cost to the farmers, he is able to save on his pumping costs.
    Page 2 of 2 -     “This year in particular, it was a saving grace because we went through that dry spell for such a long time,” he said. “When you’re in a drought, it’s a good feeling to know you’re hooked up to water like that.”
     

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