Town Council OKs $28,000 to Stop ‘Red Tide’ in Harbor

Water sample taken from Town Harbor at floating docks near discharge pipe. (Wave photo)

Cape Charles Wave

November 25, 2013

Cape Charles is “under the gun” to stop pumping untreated backwash directly into the Town Harbor.

Public Works Director Dave Fauber told Town Council November 21 that the Virginia DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality) has ordered Cape Charles to cease discharging excessive amounts of iron- and manganese-laden water into the Chesapeake Bay. The Wave first reported the “red tide” in August after a resident observed the discharge and expressed concern.

Ironically, the Town only began the unlawful discharge after completion of the new $19 million sewer treatment plant. Previously, backwash was directed into the old treatment plant’s polishing pond.

But, “when the new wastewater treatment plant was built and the old polishing pond demolished, the discharge from the water treatment plant backwash was sent directly into the harbor,” Fauber said. Council approved his recommendation to expand a backwash vault at a cost of approximately $28,000 to allow metal solids to settle before the water is discharged into the Bay. [Read more…]