FNR Steering Committee Meeting Minutes May 2021

Friends of the Nanticoke River

May 12, 2021

Cedar Hill Marina

Present: Jay Martin, Judith Stribling, Carol Dunahoo, John King, Lisa Wool, Gene Williams, Viki Hochschwender

Absent: Christina Darby, Tom Darby, Craig Jester

Guest: Nicole Acle, Wicomico County Council Representative District 2 (hereafter referred to as Nicole)

Call to order: 6:05 pm

Due to Nicole’s attendance, normal meeting practices were deferred until the next meeting. Prior to Nicole’s arrival, Jay said he spoke with Kenny Robinson of the Mardela VFD. Mr. Robinson said that the VFD could take a vote regarding hosting a NAG fundraiser, but it was unlikely to pass due to member relationships with Mr. Burns. There was general consensus that FNR should remain a contributor, but not an event sponsor.

With Nicole’s arrival, the meeting began with introductions and a general discussion on a variety of topics, followed by these agenda items.

Porter Mill Road DAF Tank and related issues re County zoning practices: Nicole stated that the documentary was very compelling, but gave no indication of the Council’s position. She has been invited by Mr. Burns to tour the DAF tank; the scheduled meeting is tomorrow, May 13, 2021. Nicole said this is a fact-finding mission and expressed interest in what Mr. Burns described as exploring alternative methods for application of the DAF. Judith pointed out that the key issue is the tank, the DAF contained therein, and its realized and potential harm to residents and environment.

Nicole asked for questions that FNR suggest she pose to Mr. Burns; the following were recommended:

  • Is the tank currently in use/operating?

  • Is there any consideration of placing a lid on the tank?

  • Is there any consideration of building a containment structure in case of leaks? Nicole acknowledged the potential harm to local water supply and Rewastico Creek.

  • Where is the DAF being applied (FNR noted that zoning allows only on his worked land & originating from same)?

Nicole stated that, in her reading of the zoning laws, she agreed the installation was not appropriate for an Agriculture 1 zoning, but would be appropriate for an Industrial 2 designation.

FNR noted that a traffic counter had been installed on Porter Mill Road and asked who initiated its installation. Nicole stated that the Council has received several citizen complaints about increased traffic, particularly in concern for school buses and farm equipment, but that the counters have been installed on several surrounding roads as part of a larger traffic study for the Westside Connector.

Wicomico County septic issues: Nicole said that the Council is reviewing the issue as part of its Master Plan, but is currently not receiving much focus. She noted a significant number of residential systems have not been maintained and are overflowing. Judith noted FNR’s concern for installing a County-wide sewer system that would have a negative environmental effect on marshland, sprawl and pollution. Nicole said that Whitehaven is of particular concern and, in her opinion, an ideal solution would be an offsite disposal system with mandated pumping at a financial cost to Whitehaven residents.

CAFOs: Nicole is unsure of the number of pending applications and there was a general discussion of the substantial number of abandoned chicken houses in Wicomico County.

Recycling: The County is currently not recycling plastic as it is too labor intensive and there is no market for the synthetic. Nicole said that the target date for recycling plastic is July 1, 2021.

After a fine dinner provided by FNR, the meeting adjourned at 8:00 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Viki Hochschwender

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