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Sewer work may disrupt North End's service

January 17, 1999|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

Service could be disrupted briefly to as many as 150 sewer customers in the North End before the end of March as contractors replace and improve sewer lines.

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Traffic on some city streets also will be disrupted as workers tear up roads to replace lines, according to Ed Norman, a city water pollution control engineer.

City officials hope the $3.3 million project will keep heavy rains from getting into the sewer system. That can overload the system, causing sewage to back up into some homes or forcing the city to pump it into a stream leading to Antietam Creek.

Now that the project has begun, workers have been digging on Magnolia Avenue near the Potomac Heights Elementary School.

Work on Oak Hill and Northern avenues is expected to begin next week. The Terrace and May Street are scheduled for work during the second week of February. And contractors could begin work on Belview Avenue by the end of February, Norman said.

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Contractors will also have to dig into backyards along Potomac Heights Boulevard, Brookside Terrace and Valley Brook Drive, he said.

The schedule could change at the contractor's discretion and depending on weather conditions, Norman said.

He said some customers will probably be asked to limit water use for a few hours the day workers are in their area.

City workers are hanging notices on affected residents' doors, informing them of the project.

Norman said he expects residents will be visited by representatives from the contractor on the days their service will be interrupted.

The problems with the existing sewer lines have forced the city to pump an estimated 50 million gallons of wastewater into Hamilton Run in the last six years.

Norman said the city has not pumped sewage into the stream since early 1998.

Under an agreement with the Maryland Department of the Environment, the city is allowed to pump sewage into the stream until Feb. 23, he said.

Norman said contractors probably will finish the work sometime in March.

If they don't, Norman said, MDE officials could extend their consent order, or fine the city. But if that happened, he said, the city could probably charge the contracting company for the fines.

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