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Part of creek reopens

February 11, 2004|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

A portion of Antietam Creek closed Friday after partially treated waste water was dumped into the creek was reopened Tuesday afternoon after health officials found it safe for public use.

The City of Hagerstown Waste Water Treatment Plant released 3.2 million gallons of partially treated waste water into the creek Monday after its systems were overloaded from heavy rainfall that had entered the sewer system, Water and Sewer Department Manager Dave Shindle said this week.

Washington County Health Department officials closed the creek Friday between the plant and Beaver Creek after elevated levels of the bacteria fecal coliform were found in the stream. The bacteria are found in human feces and can cause illness if ingested.

The bacteria levels were back to normal Tuesday, said Laurie Bucher, director of the Washington County Health Department's Environmental Health Division.

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Shindle said Monday that plant improvements planned for later this year should alleviate stresses on the treatment system, and should reduce the number of times partially treated waste water is dumped into the creek.

He said the most recent release before Friday was last September, when the plant dumped waste water into the creek three times.

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