Welcome to the Inland Bays Foundation

Pollution Control Strategies and Tributary Action Teams

Taken from DNREC website.

A 1997 federal court case required Delaware to set pollution limits for its waterways. These limits are called Total Maximum Daily Loads or TMDLs, a term you will hear a lot in water pollution discussions. In order to meet these new pollution limits, we are identifying ways to reduce water pollution.

Tributary Action Team You will find more at the following link

The Foundation has added their 2014 assessment of the current status-

The pollution control strategy (often abbreviated PCS) includes a combination of more than one pollution-reducing method and is tailored specifically for each watershed. Methods could include:

  • The removal of direct point-source discharges from waterways. After the end of 2014 only the Rehoboth Sewer Pipe will remain.
  • Better management of fertilizer and manure. At the end of 2014 there are existing and underway processes in existence to recyle chicken litter to fertilizer and compost and have the potential to remove hundreds of thousands of tons of nutrient and bacterial contamination annually.
  • Replacement of failing septic systems with environmentally safer sewer systems. At the end of 2014 there remain 18,000 Septics in the Inland Bays Watershed of which 10-15 % are either; poorly maintained, failing or have failed. The new Waste Water Regulation will address only new construction or replacement systems. Sussex County is aggressively expanding their Public Sewer Program.
  • Protective agricultural practices such as the planting of vegetative buffer strips between cropland and waterways. In 2014 little has being done to implement these “Voluntary Best Management Practices”.
  • Expanded levels of treatment of residential storm water through the use of best management practices. 2014- The new Storm Water Regulation is now in effect.

The Foundation believes this is a start but far from sufficient to achieve “clean and swimmable waters” in our Bays and Tributaries. We will soon be addressing our 2016 advocacy, lobbying and litigation priorities and could use your help. Please visit our membership page to see how you can join us.

"What better gift could the Foundation receive than this article about the successful expansion of the Sussex County Public Sewer System.

The Foundation encourages all Public Sewer Providers to use "Spray Irrigation" (County"s Inland Bays Plant) for disposal of sewage effluent over cover crops in winter or crops like soybeans and corn in Summer. The treatment facility eliminates all bacteria and the crops use all the remaining nutrients. We don't need any more of either in our Bays. Thanks to DNREC for leading the way on this issue and the County for responding positively."

Sussex sewer expansion ahead of the curve

County engineers plan for future growth - Cape Gazette - By Ron MacArthur | Nov 26, 2014


A large lagoon is being dug out at the county's Inland Bays treatment facility to expand capacity.

Planning is critical for Sussex County officials who want to stay ahead of the curve for future sewer plant expansions and service. “It's because sewer projects are complex and take years to plan and complete,” said Mike Izzo, the county's chief engineer.

To preserve capacity at one of its four wastewater treatment plants, Sussex County officials are embarking on a $14 million project that includes a new state-of-the-art pump station and nearly 9 miles of 24-inch sewer pipe.

The project will provide the infrastructure to divert wastewater from the county's Wolfe Neck treatment plant near Cape Henlopen State Park to the Inland Bays plant near Long Neck. It will also provide sewer hookups for projects in the area around Cedar Grove Road and Route 24 between Lewes and Rehoboth Beach including the new Cape Henlopen School District elementary school, a proposed Delaware State Police Troop 7 and a proposed RV campground project. Sussex County Council has not yet voted on the RV park project.

Capacity is a concern at the land-locked Wolfe Neck plant, Izzo said.

While even on the busiest summer weekends, the plant does not reach its permitted capacity, land is limited for spraying treated water, and the Wolfe Neck plant has little to no room to expand.

The county could expand the Wolfe Neck plant, Izzo said, "but there is no way to expand spray irrigation." The county leases the land from the state and sprays on 310 acres near Cape Henlopen State Park, not far from the Junction and Breakwater Trail.

At the Inland Bays facility, on the other hand, the county has purchased 2,000 acres for expansion.

This project to divert wastewater to the Inland Bays plant comes on the heels of another major project to expand the Angola Neck sewer district. The nearly $6 million project includes more than 3 miles of 8-inch gravity sewer pipes and 2.5 miles of force main. The project serves an area along Route 24 from Love Creek to Peddlers Village extending north to include the communities of Love Creek Woods and Fox Hollow.

Construction of central sewer in this area will eliminate more than 250 on-site septic systems.

In addition, current and planned work at the Inland Bays treatment plant will double its capacity to 5.4 million gallons within the next two decades.

A break-even venture

Sewer treatment is big business for Sussex County government, yet the entire venture is designed to break even, Izzo said. The county's goal since it started providing central sewer in the 1970s has been to eliminate existing, on-site septic systems, particularly in the Inland Bays Watershed. In many cases, the systems were in disrepair and were failing, releasing pollutants into the environment.

The county operates four wastewater treatment facilities: Wolfe Neck between Lewes and Rehoboth Beach; Inland Bays near Long Neck; South Coastal near Bethany Beach; and Piney Neck near Dagsboro.

Three of the four plants use a lagoon system and then spray irrigation to dispose of wastewater while South Coastal has used ocean outfall since 1976. A 6,200-foot, 30-inch pipe pumps treated water out into the Atlantic Ocean. The Town of Selbyville has also tied into the South Coastal system.


During the treatment process, effluent is pumped to a clarifier where solids settle at the bottom. The county has another identical clarifier at the Inland Bays plant ready for future expansion. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)


High-powered irrigation pumps pull treated wastewater from storage lagoons to the Inland Bays spray irrigation system. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)


Wastewater operator Randy Paugh conducts analytical testing in the Inland Bays laboratory. (Photo by: Ron MacArthur)


The Inland Bays serve as a valuable recreational asset for residents and visitors, and as a diverse habitat for both terrestrial and aquatic life. We hope to educate the public on the importance of maintaining a healthy watershed in Sussex County Delaware protecting wildlife, water fowl and sandy beaches for us all.

Help Us to Keep You Informed

Your generous donation will assist us in our efforts by helping to fund this website, our participation at environmental events, etc.

Join us so we can count on you to be a supporter of our efforts to advocate and if necessary litigate to achieve our goals of clean waters in our watershed. We need for the Foundation to have a larger voice through increased membership and funding!

Annual membership per family or individual is $25.

"Please take the time to view the YouTube video: Clean Water for Delaware's Future prepared by the Governor- Jack Markell (and undoubtedly with the assistance of DNREC) early in 2014. It shows violent agreement with the views of The Inland Bays Foundation that much more could be done to clean the waters of Delaware, perhaps without busting the budget.