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State denies golf course's request for water-use exemption

August 23, 1999|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

A request that Washington County's Black Rock Golf Course be exempted from state water-use restrictions has been turned down, Maryland Department of the Environment spokesman John Verrico said Monday.

Golf course officials were given permission to pump water from the storm water management ponds on the course, Verrico said.

Those ponds contain about 7 million gallons of water, enough to water damaged portions of the golf course for 40 days, he said.

Ron Pike, chairman of the golf course management board, said that under the best of circumstances the state would have granted the variance that would have permitted the use of well water to irrigate the course.

"But this is certainly an acceptable alternative. We're pleased," Pike said.

The storm water management ponds are filled with surface runoff water and are not fed by streams or wells, Verrico said. Using the storm water management ponds will not affect the public water supply, he said.

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Pike said that he had been expecting this response from the state since Maryland Department of the Environment officials visited Black Rock Golf Course last week.

Pike said golf course officials had not been using the water in the storm water management ponds.

"We weren't going to use it until we got permission to use it," Pike said.

Verrico said the state's decision was made Monday. He did not know when officials at Black Rock would be officially notified of the decision.

Earlier this month, John Kain, superintendent at the Washington County-owned golf course, requested that the course be granted an exemption from the mandatory water-use restrictions that went into effect Aug. 4.

Under the restrictions ordered by Gov. Parris N. Glendening, golf courses were required to reduce water usage by 80 percent.

In his application to the state, Kain said he couldn't meet that restriction and still reseed 25 acres of fairways that had been damaged by turf diseases.

Pike said that with permission to use the water from the storm water management ponds, golf course crews will be able to water and reseed the damaged acres while complying with the governor's order.

"We've already cut back and we will continue to meet the (water usage) requirements," Pike said.

As a result of the damage to the fairways, golfers often are required to keep their carts on the golf path on some portions of the course.

Pike said that restriction is likely to remain in place until more rain falls.

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