Washington County briefs

March 14, 2007|by TAMELA BAKER

Resident asks for help with creek cleanup

When South County resident Donna Brightman read in a canoeing guide that enthusiasts avoided whole sections of Antietam Creek because "much of it is relatively ugly," she was convinced it was time to change the Antietam's image.

Representing the Antietam Creek Watershed Alliance, she asked the county commissioners to get behind the group's efforts to clean up the creek and improve its water quality - which she said does not meet Maryland water quality standards.

She said nearly 80 percent of the 41-mile creek has inadequate buffers, leading to erosion and pollutants. Another problem, she said, was dumping of trash and debris into the creek and onto its banks.

With the aid of Emilie Cooper of the Maryland Forest Service, the group is seeking a grant for a watershed study. Brightman didn't ask for any money from the county, but did seek cooperation from county departments for the group's efforts.


The alliance will be meeting at 7 p.m. March 27 at Quality Inn, 1101 Dual Highway.

County bugged

The chief of mosquito control for the Maryland Department of Agriculture told county officials Tuesday that local communities that sensed mosquitoes were multiplying were probably right - and it's because, at least in part, of the development boom in Washington County.

"Containers - children's outdoor toys, tarps - and stormwater ponds are creating a habitat for breeding where it didn't exist before," Cyrus Lesser said.

The state is asking the county to consider participating in its mosquito control program. Lesser said eight communities in the county are involved, but workers can't treat areas not covered by those communities.

Those communities contribute half of the funds for implementing the program. The state pays the other half.

The county could also participate on that basis or make mosquito control the responsibility of an existing county agency with contributions from the state. For full service, Lesser estimated the county would need to contribute $7,500.

County to purchase property near airport

The Washington County Commissioners unanimously agreed Tuesday to purchase a half-acre parcel at 14211 Basore Drive for $190,000 for future development at Hagerstown Regional Airport.

The property appraised for $230,000, airport Fire Chief Phil Ridenour said, but the owner, Robert Winters, agreed to the $190,000 price. The parcel includes a single-family dwelling.

The county will pay closing costs of $1,219.

Ridenour said he believed 95 percent of the purchase would be reimbursed by the Federal Aviation Administration and state matching grants. For now, the purchase price will be transferred from the county's capital improvement contingency fund.

County to partner with developer

Washington County will partner with the developers of Powers Estates to upgrade sewer lines near the Forty West Landfill, an action that could save the county millions over the next several decades.

Leachate - the liquid created when water filters through the landfill - must be treated as wastewater. The landfill generates almost 3 million gallons of leachate every year, which Public Works Director Joe Kroboth said must be hauled to the Conococheague Wastewater Treatment Plant for treatment.

As part of this agreement, the developer would upgrade 5,500 linear feet of sanitary sewer lines and install 380 linear feet of leachate force main, which would allow the leachate to flow directly into the sewer system for treatment and eliminate hauling costs.

In return, Powers Estates will get two extra acres set aside for public use. The county will have three acres in the area for future use.

Developer Doug Bachtell estimated the project would save the county $8.9 million over 45 years - an average of nearly $200,000 a year.

The commissioners unanimously agreed to use the initial savings to build a new pumping station at the landfill.

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