by Terry Rogers
After dealing with water in their homes that is unsafe to drink, the residents of Ellendale will soon have access to fresh, clean water thanks to an agreement between Sussex County and Artesian Water. In early August 2019, the Delaware Public Service Commission approved a certificate of public convenience and necessity application for Sussex County to provide water to what is now known as the Ellendale Water District.
“The Ellendale Civic Improvement Association, led by Delores Price, has been working tirelessly to get clean water to areas of Ellendale,” Kris Acker, a member of the organization, said. “A referendum was held in 2017 for the whole town that did not pass due to differences between the incorporated and non-incorporated areas of town. In 2018, Sussex County re-evaluated the town and created the Ellendale Water District. In 2018, the referendum passed overwhelmingly.”
Acker explained that once the referendum passed, the County began seeking grants to bring water to Ellendale residents. The County has agreed to pay for all connections to the water system and to supplement any plumbing changes that may be necessary in homes who have been using well water. All billing for the water will be handled by Sussex County and anyone who is worried they cannot afford fresh water should reach out to the County to see what help is available.
“All residences in the Water District will be required to hook up to the water system per County and State code,” Acker said. “Sussex County agreed to pay for hookups and plumbing changes provided each property owner signs an agreement granting access to their property to make that hookup.”
On Tuesday, August 11 and again on Thursday, August 13, from 4 PM until 7 PM, representatives from Sussex County, SERCAP, FSCAA and the Ellendale Community Civic Improvement Association will be outside the Mount Zion AME Church, located at 18211 Beach Highway in Ellendale. They will have access agreements available for residents to sign.
“At least one property owner of record for each property must sign the agreement and the agreement must be notarized,” Acker said. “Tenants must contact their landlord to make them aware of the importance of the access agreements as it pertains to plumbing cost. Door-to-door visits may occur for those who do not sign the access agreements in a timely fashion. All of those who are helping with the agreements on Tuesday and Thursday will be wearing masks and we will be requiring social distancing.”
Property owners who need interior plumbing upgrades or want to retain their wells for agriculture use must contact Sussex County at 302-855-7718.