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Smithsburg water plant shut down

August 27, 2002|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

The City of Hagerstown shut down its water plant south of Smithsburg late last week because the streams feeding the plant's reservoir haven't been replenishing it fast enough, the city's water manager said Monday.

Customers shouldn't notice the shutdown because the R.C. Willson Water Treatment Plant near Williamsport continues to supply water to all of the city's customers, Mayor William M. Breichner said.

The Smithsburg water treatment plant is named for Breichner, who was the city's water department superintendent from 1967 to 1983. The William M. Breichner Water Treatment Plant is south of Smithsburg off Crystal Falls Drive.

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Water Department Manager Gene Walzl said the Edgemont Reservoir is about 80 percent to 85 percent full. Because the Raven Rock and Warner Hollow streams haven't been replenishing the reservoir fast enough, the dissolved oxygen level in the reservoir's water isn't as high as water officials would like, Walzl said.

The reservoir water is undergoing routine tests to ensure it meets health standards, Walzl said.

"Everything we put out of the plant thus far has met all regulations," Walzl said.

The water could be used in an emergency, Walzl said.

While the Potomac River is lower than normal, its level is not critical, Walzl said. The Potomac feeds the Willson plant.

City officials are not ordering mandatory water restrictions yet, but they could, Walzl said.

"We are asking people to be wise and not waste water," Walzl said. If a chore requiring water doesn't have to be done, don't waste water doing it, he said.

Some conservation measures Walzl suggested were washing only full loads of laundry, fixing leaks and using efficient water fixtures, watering lawns at night when there is less evaporation, and turning off the water when you brush your teeth.

Breichner said it appears city water customers are conserving because they have been using 11 million gallons of water a day when normally at this time of year they would use about 12 million gallons a day.

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