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Health Department warns against contact with water

March 30, 2005|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

The Washington County Health Department on Tuesday warned residents not to swim, fish or have contact with water in the area of Hamilton Run at Pangborn Boulevard.

The information was released following the overflow of about 25,000 gallons of untreated wastewater into Hamilton Run on Monday, according to the health department.

Health department spokesman Rod MacRae said that while the department is "not happy with any overflow," Monday's was not among the worst in recent years.

"I don't want to be dismissive of it, but it wasn't as bad as some of the overflows we've had," he said.

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MacRae said an overflow typically is caused by substantial flooding conditions.

He said the health department will take samples from streams over a week or two weeks. MacRae said the issue most likely would resolve itself naturally.

"It's usually a matter of letting time and dilution run its course," MacRae said.

The city's sewer system is in the midst of a multimillion-dollar upgrade guided by a legally binding agreement between the city and the Maryland Department of the Environment. The agreement was the result of several failures by the sewer system in recent years.

According to state and city reports, spills of partially treated wastewater occurred at least eight times between January and September 2004, four times topping the 1 million-gallon mark.

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