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'Swampy' pond could bog down town's budget

October 11, 2002|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

Repairs to an old, eroding pond could have the small town of Hancock facing a big bill, officials said Thursday.

Town Manager Larry Logan said the Kirk Pond has an old dam that might lead to the erosion of properties downstream and possibly carry sediment into the Potomac River.

"It's kind of a swampy little place," Logan said.

The town was told by the Maryland Department of the Environment to fix the pond and dam, which receives a lot of drainage from Interstate 68, he said.

The project is slated to cost $86,119, a steep expense for a town that has a budget of a little over $1 million, Logan said.

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Town officials have been told grants probably will be available to pay for some of the costs, he said.

"So we need some help," Logan said. "That's a big cost for a small town."

He said the Maryland Department of the Environment, the Chesapeake Bay Trust and the Army Corps of Engineers might contribute to the costs.

Washington County Soil Conservation District Manager Elmer Weibley said the pond was built more than 30 years ago as a backup water supply for the town.

"It's really an unsafe situation," Weibley said. "Ponds like that need to be cleaned out periodically."

He said the dam possibly could overflow and flood surrounding properties.

The conservation district said it would perform the repairs for the town, an offer that was approved by the Hancock Town Council Wednesday night.

Logan said the dam will be removed and replaced by a rock structure and boulders to control drainage. The conservation district will also plant vegetation around the area, he said.

Weibley said the project will take about two weeks and be designed by district employee Stephane Tyler.

"It's just a lot of earth moving," he said.

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