New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer and Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki signed a 10-year contract that settled a lengthy sewage treatment dispute.
The agreement establishes a path forward for the next decade for the city to process county sewage at the city’s wastewater treatment plant.
The signing ceremony marks the first time in 19 years, since 2003, that the two governments have agreed on a wastewater treatment contract.
Purzycki and Meyer announced late last year that they had been meeting in person and by phone to seek a breakthrough in the dispute, which had eluded previous administrations. Law and public works representatives from both governments have spent the past few months ironing out the technical details of the agreement, which culminated with the contract signing.
“I am grateful to County Executive Meyer for his personal engagement on an issue that has defied resolution for far too long,” said Purzycki. “Neither of us wanted this to go on any longer and we knew it was better for the residents and businesses served by both governments that the matter be settled.”
“I am thankful for the time and consideration Mayor Purzycki gave to resolving this issue,” said Meyer. “I am especially thankful to the New Castle County public works and legal departments for their extensive and diligent work on this issue.”
Both Purycki Meyer said all things considered, the agreement represents a fair allocation of costs and responsibilities between the governments and should pass the test of time preventing further disputes. The new contract sets a date of no later than January 1, 2031, for the governments to begin discussing a new contract.
The agreement also establishes a Wastewater Treatment Committee comprised of city and county government representatives who will meet regularly to share information regarding wastewater system operations, planning, capital expenditures, finances, regulatory compliance, and other relevant information.
The county’s wastewater treatment operation was in the news when the county became a pioneer in detecting the presence of Covid-19 in wastewater through the work of a private company. Studies indicate that sampling provides an accurate overview of the actual number of cases of the virus.