Currently, SERCAP’s Regional Program in Delaware is assisting the community of Ellendale and the Ellendale Civic and Community Improvement Association (ECCIA) with getting a community water system, something that the community has been pursuing since 2010. In 2010, the Town of Ellendale was guaranteed a 100% principal forgiveness loan from the Delaware Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) program. Since it was still technically a loan, the Town’s charter required a referendum before the loan could be closed. The referendum failed by a wide margin, with only Town residents being able to vote.

Fast forward several years to 2016/2017. The ECCIA has now gathered enough petitions to request that Sussex County establish a water district that would cover more than just the Town itself, but would extend to the un-incorporated areas, outside the Town limits, that really need the water service. On September 19, 2017, the Sussex County Council voted to approve the proposed boundaries of that water district. Moving forward, a Public Hearing on the proposed water district has been scheduled for Friday, October 6, 2017, and another referendum vote, in which all residents of the district may vote, is scheduled for November 4, 2017. ECCIA is working to promote the formation of the water district, to educate the public about the benefits of a community water system, and is working to get out the vote on the day of the referendum. However, there is opposition to the water district. In some cases the opposition is based on misperceptions, and in some cases it is purely economic, as some people do not want to pay a water bill. ECCIA hopes to overcome the misperceptions and misinformation of those in opposition to the water district, with the goal of a positive referendum result this time.

Without SERCAP’s technical assistance services and willingness to partner with counties, localities, and other community organizations, many rural communities would be forced to go without such necessities as indoor plumbing, properly functioning wells and septic systems, water and wastewater infrastructure solutions, community infrastructure needs, safe and affordable housing, and more. It is important to remember that even in the United States in the 21st Century; there are those who do not have reliable access to clean, safe drinking water, environmentally sound septic facilities, and affordable housing. In order to help SERCAP continue to provide assistance to both the individuals and communities in need, please consider making a donation to SERCAP’s Water Life! Fund!

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*Funding for SERCAP’s Regional Program is provided by the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Office of Community Services’ (OCS) Grant, USDA RD’s Technitrain Program, the Drinking Water Compliance Grant through the EPA, and the EPA Private Well Grant.