Nobody wants the effluent from a sewage treatment plant in their back yard. But what about 40 feet below the surface of the ocean, and a mile off shore? Well, some people don't like that idea either.
But that's the plan that the City of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware came up with after a Federal judge ordered the city to stop dumping treated wastewater in the Rehoboth Bay, separated from the ocean by a thin barrier island. When citizens got wind of the proposed project, there was an outcry. The Washington Post has this report (see: "In scenic Rehoboth Beach in Delaware, a proposed sewer outfall causes nasty fallout," by Darryl Fears).
The city doesn't have many options. Writes the Post, "Since 1998, Rehoboth Beach has been under a judge's order to stop dumping wastewater from the Rehoboth Beach Wastewater Treatment Facility into the canal and Rehoboth Bay. It caused heavy nutrient pollution — phosphorous and nitrogen created by human and animal excrement."
Rehoboth Beach mayor Sam Cooper says the treated sewage won't pose a risk after being treated and filtered. But critics worry about things the treatment doesn't remove — including pharmaceuticals and hormones that might affect the biology of fish and other ocean creatures.