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Vote expected on disinfection

September 25, 2007|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - The Hagerstown City Council is scheduled to vote tonight on spending $788,000 to pay for engineering services associated with an ultraviolet disinfecting project at the Wastewater Treatment plant.

Donald W. Barton, the city's wastewater operations manager, said the project would involve installing ultraviolet lamps that would sterilize bacteria and prevent them from reproducing.

According to city documents, the $788,000 fee only covers engineering services related to the project's design and construction.

The total cost of the project is $7.55 million, Barton said.

The project would be paid for using low-interest financing from the state and future bonds or benefit fees, he said.

Alfred Martin, the city's finance director, said benefit fees are fixed fees that are charged to new customers.

To help pay the project's cost, the city would charge a minimum benefit fee of $4,400 to new customers who live in the city, Martin said. New customers who live outside the city would be charged a $5,000 minimum benefit fee.

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Debt from the project would take the city up to 20 years to repay, he said.

Barton said the Maryland Department of the Environment ordered the city in 2005 to evaluate and rehabilitate the disinfecting system at the plant.

City officials chose the ultraviolet method because it offers the best available technology, he said. The city currently uses ozone gas to disinfect water at the plant.

The project has to be completed by Jan. 1, 2011, Barton said.

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