Sierra Club Challenges Coastal Zone Permit for Wandendale Wastewater Treatement Plant
In 2010 the Sierra Club, Citizens Coalition, Citizens Action Foundation Inc. and the Southern New Castle County Alliance challenged the Secretary of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Order and Coastal Zone Permit for the Wandendale Regional Wastewater Treatment and Disposal Facility on grounds that the Secretary’s Order and Coastal Zone Permit violated the Coastal Zone Act and acted arbitrarily, capriciously, and in violation of law in issuing the permit.
The Secretary’s Order and Permit included incomplete consideration of the direct and cumulative environmental impacts of the facility, including air and water pollution, destruction of wetlands, and effect on surface water and the Inland Bays.
The DNREC Secretary also failed to require proof that offsets for environmental destruction would be clearly and demonstrably more beneficial to the environment in the Coastal Zone than the harm done by the Wandendale Facility.
Improper procedures were also followed in the review and approval of the permit application, including allowing revisions to the application after public notice of the public hearing had been made. The Secretary and DNREC reached interim agreements with the applicant on changes to the facility without proper documentation, modification of the application, or public notice. The public was denied the opportunity for a fair and full public hearing, including providing documents to the public prior of the hearing.
August 17, 2012 Update, Supreme Court rules in favor of plant:
The Delaware Supreme Court ruled on August 17, 2012 that the Wandendale wastewater treatment plant neither meets the Coastal Zone Act's definition of "heavy industry" nor "manufacturing use." The plant therefore does not need a Coastal Zone Permit to be constructed. It appears as thought plant construction will soon be underway.