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Officials toss dirt for sewer project

October 04, 2005|by TARA REILLY

HALFWAY

tarar@herald-mail.com

They lined up behind gold shovels, donned white safety hats, dug into the ground and threw some dirt.

And just like that, U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md., and county, state and city officials marked the beginning of a project that will connect Washington County's sewer system to the City of Hagerstown's at the city pump station along Western Maryland Parkway.

The groundbreaking ceremony Monday for the second phase of the Newgate Industrial Park Interceptor Sewer was at the project site on Hopewell Road, near Tractor Supply Co. Distribution Center.

Washington County Water Quality Department Director Greg Murray joked the shovels weren't real gold and weren't paid for out of the project's budget.

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Gabe's Services Inc. of Frederick, Md., has a $1.73 million contract to do the work, which is expected to be completed Feb. 24, 2006, according to information provided by the county.

Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said the project will free up some sewer capacity in the city by allowing wastewater to flow from the city's wastewater system to the county's Conococheague Wastewater Treatment Plant near Williamsport.

Snook said the project will allow for more growth in the city, while it increases flow to the county's plant.

"This is a huge project, not only for Washington County, but also for the City of Hagerstown," Snook said.

County officials have said the interceptor would bring in more revenue for the city and the county through increased connection fees.

In August 2003, the city and county signed a Flow Transfer Agreement which authorizes the transfer of wastewater flow from the city to the county. The signing was held up by a dispute between the city and the county over language regarding annexation in the agreement.

At the time, city and county officials said the connection would save both governments $1.5 million over 10 years through the consolidation of services, increased customers and other factors.

"It's about community," Hagerstown Mayor Richard F. Trump said at the ceremony. "It's not about Hagerstown. It's not about Washington County."

The project includes the installation of 6,500 linear feet of sewer lines.

Much of the project is being paid for with money from the state, federal government and other sources totaling $1.25 million. The county's share is $481,000, according to a written statement from the county.

Bartlett said it was nice that the federal government gave money back to the community.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture contributed $141,593 toward the project, according to the county statement.

"These are not government dollars," Bartlett said during the groundbreaking. "These are your dollars."

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