Sussex County Delaware

DNREC Eyes Vlasic
Pollution Discharge
DNREC News ...

Pickle Sludge Spills into
Indian River Tributary

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is investigating an unpermitted discharge from the Vlasic Foods wastewater treatment plant near Millsboro on Wednesday, March 7, 2001.

DNREC officials said approximately 60,000 to 80,000 of an estimated 240,000 gallons of partially treated sludge being transferred to one of the plant's two digester tanks overflowed. They believe the cause was a shutoff valve failure.

The discharge, reported by a Vlasic employee returning to work Thursday morning, spilled across an embankment and into Whartons Branch, a tributary of Indian River. DNREC said it was unknown what percentage of the spill actually made its way into Whartons Branch.

DNREC said the partially treated sludge is composed of solids from the secondary treatment basin. The wastewater treatment plant treats vegetable waste from Vlasic's pickling process.

DNREC said one of its environmental officers responded to the overflow shortly after it was reported and took several samples of the spilled sludge for biochemical oxygen demand analysis, total suspended solids and nutrients.

DNREC said environmental impacts are being assessed and enforcement action is pending.

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