Hagerstown briefs

January 18, 2006|by DANIEL J. SERNOVITZ

Wastewater system testing to resume

Smoke testing will resume in the City of Hagerstown after concerns expressed about city crews using the method to detect faults in its wastewater system prompted the city to cancel a round of tests scheduled for Jan. 11.

City Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said during a council work session Tuesday that he asked the city to look into the health concerns, government intrusiveness and financial implications of the program, particularly the practice of requiring property owners to pay to fix problems identified in the process.

Christopher L Bordlemay, acting manager of the city's water and sewer department, said the city has used the practice since the 1970s to detect faults in the city's infrastructure and to find illegal connections where storm-water runoff such as from roof drains flows into the city's sewer system, and from there into its wastewater treatment plant.

Except for Metzner, the remaining members of the council said they felt the benefits of the program, which involves sending smoke through the city's infrastructure and into specific properties to identify leaks, outweighed any inconvenience property owners might experience.


Giffin to draft cable channel policies

Hagerstown Public Information Officer Karen Giffin asked the City Council on Tuesday night to let her draft rules for the city's cable-access channel, arguing the measure would make it easier for her to turn away members of nonprofit organizations that want programming on the channel.

Giffin said the city has been operating Channel 6 through Antietam Cable Television for several years, using the channel to air City Council meetings and other programs. The city has some unwritten policies about the channel, including that only government-sponsored events and programs are shown on the channel, and that the city does not edit footage from the City Council meetings.

The city never created a written list of its policies, however, and Giffin has had to explain to some local groups that the city cannot promote their events, while not having documentation of the rules.

The council agreed to let Giffin draft a set of policies, which will go before the council in the future for formal adoption.

Giffin said the city would not change any of its practices concerning the channel, and that the document only would reinforce practices the city already has put in place.

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