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Water proposal proceeds

June 23, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

A proposal intended to address government health concerns about contaminated wells near Boonsboro moved a step forward Tuesday but the project may have problems because some affected property owners are opposed to it.

Washington County Health Department personnel in June 2003 told the Washington County Commissioners that the well and surface water of some homes and businesses along Old National Pike was believed to be contaminated with bacteria - including fecal bacteria - that could cause diseases.

The homes and businesses in question are in the county's jurisdiction, not Boonsboro's.

The County Commissioners on Tuesday gave approval for Boonsboro and the Maryland Department of the Environment to continue working to get funding to extend a waterline 6,000 feet along Alternate U.S. 40 from Lappans Road - Md. 68 - to Mill Point Road.

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Tuesday's action does not mean the proposal will become reality, Washington County Administrator Rodney Shoop said.

Under the proposal, 63 potential waterline users each would pay a $1,000 connection fee.

Boonsboro would own and operate the waterline and would be responsible for project management. The town would use its engineer for design and construction.

The town is interested in undertaking the project only if those who connect to the waterline are annexed into the town and that might not happen, Commissioner William Wivell said.

He said he does not think residents would agree to be annexed.

Commissioner John Munson said he has received phone calls from affected property owners who oppose being forced to connect and to be annexed. Munson said he shares their objections.

The estimated cost of the project is $963,000, said George Keller, MDE's program administrator for the water quality infrastructure program.

The project would be funded with about $677,500 in grants and a $285,500 loan, Keller said. About $310,000 in grant money has not yet been approved by the state, but that approval is expected, Keller said.

The users of the waterline would be required to pay $445 per year if the grant is approved, or $775 a year if it is not, Keller said.

Wivell called the cost to the users "astronomical."

MDE would not be working to obtain grant funding for the project if it did not agree with the Health Department that a major health problem exists, Keller said.

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