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Antietam Creek warning signs will be removed today

March 15, 2002|BY DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

Signs warning people to stay away from Antietam Creek because of the millions of gallons of largely untreated sewage that came from the Hagerstown sewage treatment plant last month are to be taken down today, Plant Superintendent Donald Barton said Thursday.

The sewage treatment plant off Frederick Street was partially shut down Feb. 9 after high concentrations of chemicals common to industrial cleaners and other industrial products were dumped into the sewer system.

The screening and settling steps of the treatment process, which remove sludge and other solid material, continued operating during the partial shutdown. But the disinfection and bacteria treatments were stopped, which allowed 5.6 million gallons of largely untreated wastewater to flow daily from the plant into the creek.

A chlorine disinfection process put in place on Feb. 12 dramatically lessened the bacteria levels flowing into the creek.

Bacteria levels fell back to acceptable levels Feb. 15, which meant the warning signs could come down a month later, Barton said.

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The Maryland Department of the Environment is still investigating the matter, MDE spokesman Richard McIntire said Thursday.

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