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Wivell - Water hookup appears likely

June 09, 2005|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

CASCADE - Residents of the Pen Mar area opposed to Washington County's plans to extend a public water system to their homes likely have no chance of stopping the $2.58 million project, Commissioners Vice President William J. Wivell said Wednesday night.

"I think it is highly unlikely that the commissioners are going to say we're not going to put the system in ... because it's been too long on the books," Wivell said.

Wivell made the comment during a public hearing by the Washington County Water Advisory Commission at Lakeside Hall at the former Fort Ritchie U.S. Army base.

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The purpose of the meeting was so the advisory commission, mainly a group of citizens appointed by the commissioners, could gather feedback from Pen Mar-area residents and make recommendations to the commissioners.

About 60 residents attended the meeting.

Wivell said the advisory commission would try to come up with options that might help those who oppose the system but that, "probably, yes, the system is going to be put in."

The county plans to extend public water service to about 80 homes in the Pen Mar area, saying it wants to improve water quality. The affected homes are serviced by wells or cisterns.

County Public Works Director Gary Rohrer has said that the county has been planning the system since 1989.

The majority of residents attending Wednesday's meeting use wells for water and are against the system. Some Pen Mar-area residents using cisterns also said they opposed receiving county water.

They said their wells and cisterns worked fine and that they didn't want to pay the cost to hook up to the system or the county's water bill.

The county has said residents would have to pay a $1,950 connection fee to the system plus the cost of the service line installation, which was estimated to be about $2,000.

The Community Action Council is currently seeking a $400,000 grant to help income-eligible residents pay the fees.

Several cistern users, however, pleaded for the public water system, saying trucking their water in was a costly inconvenience.

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