Artesian Water Co. will hold two public information sessions to answer questions about the company’s 1,700-acre spray irrigation facility off Route 16 in Milton.
The first session will be held from 1 to 3 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 19, at Milton library. The second will be from 6 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 22, at Milton fire hall.
The sessions will include maps, photos and graphics, as well as a brief presentation about an hour into the session. Artesian will have project team members on hand to answer questions.
The project, known as the Sussex Regional Recharge Facility, will use spray irrigation to dispose of treated wastewater. The $17 million facility also includes a 90-million gallon lagoon for storage. Artesian officials say this method of wastewater disposal has verifiable benefits, such as cost savings for farmers and benefits to crops, fields and forests.
The facility’s first major client will be Allen Harim Foods’ chicken processing facility in Harbeson, which will send its treated wastewater to Artesian for disposal. Allen Harim’s involvement in the project has been controversial; environmental group Keep Our Wells Clean challenged Artesian’s construction permit for the project, citing concerns about the environmental impact of spray irrigation. A hearing on Keep Our Wells Clean’s appeal will be held Tuesday, March 12.
Once the facility is operational, Allen Harim would be permitted to send a maximum of 10.5 million gallons of water per week. Allen Harim currently disposes of its treated wastewater in Beaverdam Creek.
Before the facility goes online, Artesian must obtain an operations permit from Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. Company officials have said that process will last several months and include opportunities for public comment. Allen Harim is undergoing a separate permitting process for its wastewater treatment.
Artesian anticipates the facility will be operational by spring.
Ed: Note - This story contained an error on the status of the challenge to Artesian’s construction permit. A hearing on the issue will be held Tuesday, March 12. The story has been changed to correct the error.