Frankford council discusses future of water plant

Date Published: 
Jan. 25, 2018

At the Frankford Town Council’s January meeting, Clarence Quillen of White Marsh reported that the Town’s water plant continues to have issues.

Quillen emphasized that any concerns that the Town’s water is not clean should be quelled. The issues with backwash not occurring is a controls issue and does not cause the plant to produce dirty water, he said.

“The issues we’re having is nothing new,” he said. “Is the world going to come to an end tomorrow? No… The controls are not talking to each other… they’re just not communicating, and it’s getting to the point where we don’t know why it’s not doing what it’s supposed to do.”

Councilman Greg Welch said that the Town had been told the controllers were serviceable, but noted they were outdated the year after installation.

Councilman Marty Presley said the council should be judicious with maintenance on the plant for the rest of the fiscal year, as the Town is waiting on a few reimbursements.

“Even if you zero that out, we are still running well above what we should,” he added.

Quillen said the council needs to come to a consensus as to what they want for the plant.

“How much money do you want to spend and how long of a duration do you want that fix to work?” he asked. “I’m not saying bulldoze the whole thing down. I’m asking the council, where do you want to be and how long do you want your fixes to work?”

“For the money we spend putting ‘Band-aids’ on stuff, we can spend the same amount, versus surgery once and spending it all at the same time,” said resident Liz Carpenter.

Presley said the Town is waiting to hear from DNREC and Delaware Rural Water before they make a move.

“We don’t know if we’re looking at a $300,000 or a $3 million problem,” he said, noting that the council has recently gotten state Sen. Gerald Hocker and Rep. Rich Collins involved.

“I just think, the longer it takes, the worse the problem is going to become,” said Carpenter.

Welch noted that nothing is going “catastrophically” wrong, but, rather, things aren’t functioning part-by-part.

Quillen said that once the council decides where it wants to go, the council can slowly convert the plant.

It was also noted that the Town’s water only had fluoride in it for about six weeks, after finally complying with state requirements for fluoridation of municipal water supplies.

“I did not feel it was safe to keep it on for the residents of the Town, and my boss agreed. And we pulled it immediately,” said Quillen.

“We spent $30,000 out of our budget to put it in, because it was required for funding,” said Welch, adding that the State has been informed that the fluoride is no longer in the water.

“How safe is the water today, really?” asked Carpenter.

“Safe,” said Quillen. “It is safe for human consumption in every format there is.”

Wesley Hayes asked how the Town’s two wells are functioning, to which Welch responded that they are iron-y.

He noted the wells could be re-conditioned; however, it would be something that would require regular maintenance.

Quillen told those in attendance to not lose faith in the council and their work related to the plant.

“This is the most open council I have ever worked with, in keeping the public involved,” he said. “Don’t let any of this come as a shock. This has been going on for years.”

In other Town news:

• Just after Christmas, the heating broke in the old town hall, currently being rented to Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project Inc. The council voted unanimously to give the tenant a one month rent credit, as they have not been able to work out of building.

• The council voted unanimously to hire Chesapeake Plumbing & Heating to replace the heating and air in the 5 Main Street building, for $6,164, not including the cost of the electrician, estimated at $500.

• Bunting’s Package store was sold to the Patel family, who will be keeping the name.

“Eventually, down the road, they would probably be expanding the building and adding a small grocery store,” said Town Clerk Cheryl Lynch.

“You’ll be able to buy a loaf of bread and a half-pint at the same time,” one resident joked.

• Council voted unanimously to sell the Town’s three police vehicles on an auction site. There has been interest in two of the vehicles by the Laurel Police Department.

• The Town will hold its annual election on Saturday, Feb. 3, from 1 to 4 p.m. at town hall. The three seats available are those currently held by Skip Ash, Pam Davis and Presley. Four candidates have filed for the two-year positions, including Ash, Davis, Velicia Melson and Dawn Beck.

• Council President Joanne Bacon thanked Presley, who did not seek re-election, for serving his town by sitting on the town council.

“We thank him for everything he has done for the town, she said.

“Thanks, guys — it’s been a pleasure serving with you,” said Presley. “I think the Town is really poised to do well in the next few years.”