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Panel endorses Pangborn East sewer project

March 11, 1998|By STEVEN T. DENNIS and JULIE GREENEs

Panel endorses Pangborn East sewer project

The Washington County Water and Sewer Advisory Commission has recommended that the County Commissioners go ahead with the $700,000 Pangborn East sewer project and delay work on the $2.5 million Holiday Acres/Beaverbrook sewer project.

Water and Sewer Director Greg Murray said Monday he's hopeful state or federal grant money can be obtained for the projects, but it will be easier to get that funding before the projects are constructed.

Murray said grants wouldn't be available until July 1, 1999, at the earliest.

The Pangborn project would serve about 50 homes and the Holiday Acres project about 115.

The planned Beaverbrook pumping station would serve Holiday Acres and eventually could serve more than 800 homes in the area west of Smithsburg. If the pump station isn't built, an existing 1993 pump station would have to be upgraded in the next year or so at a cost of $100,000 to $150,000, Murray said.

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Advisory commission Chairman Clarence Scheer said both areas have a need for sewer but the projects won't pay for themselves. Without grant funding, other county users would have to subsidize the systems, he said.

Scheer said the commission wouldn't support borrowing additional money for water and sewer, but enough money already is budgeted to pay for Pangborn.

Murray is recommending grinder pumps for Pangborn East homes because a gravity system won't work in that area and grinder pumps would be cheaper than a small pumping station.

Supporters and opponents of sewer in Holiday Acres have voiced their positions to the commissioners. Opponents say they can't afford the $2,750 hookup fee and additional plumbing expenses. Supporters say their yards smell like sewer pits and are wet from failed septic systems.

Dave Barnhart, one of those who keeps tabs on sanitary systems for the Washington County Health Department, said 95 percent of the septic systems in Pangborn and a similar percentage in Holiday Acres have some problems.

Barnhart said the areas have been targeted for sewer for decades, and that other communities in the Jefferson Boulevard corridor have a need for sewer.

The County Commissioners have to make a decision soon so the county can prepare a final capital budget for next year, Murray said.

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