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Water project adds to friction

July 08, 1997

By DON AINES

Staff Writer

KEEDYSVILLE - The Maryland Department of the Environment has decided that Boonsboro will get a $1.5 million grant for a water project including separate filtration plants for Boonsboro and Keedysville.

"It's creating friction between the two towns," said Keedysville Assistant Mayor Lee Brandenburg. "We've had this system joint with Boonsboro for more than 30 years and it worked just fine" until the government mandated water quality improvements.

Brandenburg, who also is chairman of the town's water commission, said the MDE wants to fast-track the project, which was supposed to be completed by last year. "We don't understand why the money has to go to someone else to control us," he said.

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Yvonne Hope, a former Town Council member whose home is adjacent to the Hebron Road site where the new filtration plant would be located, said "Water is going to become more and more valuable" and the town should have control over its own supply.

Hope questioned the ability of the council and Mayor Ralph Taylor to "stand up for the people" and regain some control over the water supply.

MDE's decision could widen the water rift between the towns. At the same time, the two filtration plants could reduce or eliminate another problem. During the current dry spell, Keedysville has been pumping 200,000 gallons of water to Boonsboro each day. A filtration plant for a well Boonsboro cannot now use - because of poor water quality - could spell relief in a drought.

In addition to pumping water from Keedysville's spring, Boonsboro has been buying and trucking water in from Hagerstown.

The MDE decision bothered Brandenburg, in part, because it came "with no input from the town." There is supposed to be a meeting between the department and representatives from the two towns in Baltimore on Thursday, but he said it may have to be rescheduled.

The decision to build two plants and make Boonsboro custodian is a return to an earlier plan for the water system, according to Brandenburg. A previous plan called for one plant serving both towns at a cost of $3.1 million.

The estimate for the pumping, filtration and chlorination plant on Hebron Road and a 90,000-gallon water tank in Taylor Park was $700,000. He did not know the total cost of the MDE plan.

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