Selbyville locks down funds for new wells

The Town of Selbyville has been discussing water issues in the town for quite some time. From run-off to wastewater to water bills to the quality of the town’s drinking water, Selbyville officials have been dealing with water in some shape or form for years.

Town officials met with representatives from the Delaware Division of Public Health earlier this week to sign the last of papers that would grant them $1.4 million from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program to build two new wells in town — one on Cemetery Road and the other on Railroad Avenue.

The Town took one of its wells offline in 2009 when it showed high levels of methyl ter-butyl ether (MTBE), a gasoline additive. A second well began to also show signs of increased MTBE, and the third and final well in the town was under a watchful eye from observers. In short, the town had to act. And it had to act quickly.

It did.

A town referendum in July 2011 was passed unanimously to approve the “loan.” The loan terms equate the funding to grant money, because it has an interest rate of zero percent, and the funds will be forgiven upon succesful completion of the project.

“We’ve been fortunate to have the state agencies work with us so well, and I don’t know what we would have done,” said Bob Dickerson, Selbyville’s town administrator. “It would have been a tremendous burden on the Town to do this, and that’s hard to plan for ... when you have something invade your resources.”

Dickerson graciously thanked the state agencies that helped the town secure these monies, as well as the EPA. He should also give himself, and other Town officials, a pat on the back for obtaining this money without jeopardizing the long-term financial health of the town or hiking up property taxes from residents who are already fighting a down economy.

The Town was backed into a proverbial corner, as it had no choice as to whether or not to act swiftly to provide its citizens safe drinking water. However, they obtained the money from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Program, when the program was only issuing 10 such grants to Delaware municipalities this year.

They had to fight for it. And, again, they did.

We applaud Selbyville officials for obtaining this money that will certainly improve the quality of life for its residents, and the programs that helped them do so.