Clear Spring council discusses watershed plan

July 09, 2012|By C.J. LOVELACE |

CLEAR SPRING — Like those in most other municipalities across Washington County, Clear Spring officials Monday night acknowledged the federal nutrient-reduction targets aimed at cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay, but called the estimated $1.3 million price tag for suggested improvements financially unfeasible.

Clear Spring Town Council members in June reviewed a list of potential projects that the town could undertake as part of Phase 2 improvements in the county’s Watershed Implementation Plan, or WIP, that would attempt to reduce the amount of nitrogen and phosphorous that makes its way to the bay by 2025.

The five-member council OK’d a letter to be sent to the county’s WIP committee saying that they also identify the task at hand, which was put in motion by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency demands to reduce pollutants.

Clear Spring Mayor Paul D. Hose Jr. said it would be impossible for the town to afford the suggested improvements to its stormwater systems, and it would be irresponsible when considering its citizens.

Hose said the town will consider suggested projects as it develops budgets in future fiscal years.

“I understand what situation the state is in with the Chesapeake Bay, but the Town of Clear Spring at this time does not have the $1.3 million that the state is telling us that we need for our share, so we’re doing what we can when we can,” he said.

The estimated costs countywide for suggested stormwater, wastewater and septic systems come to about $1.1 billion over the 13-year period, according to the Washington County Division of Environmental Management.

As part of the Phase 2 improvements, the county’s WIP committee created a list of unspecified projects or practices with estimated costs that local governments could tackle to help reduce pollutants discharged into the watershed, officials have said.

Too much nitrogen and phosphorous in the bay causes algae blooms, which can cut off sunlight to the water, and as they decompose, deplete the water’s oxygen supply and suffocate aquatic life, officials have said.

Each municipality across Washington County was asked to submit a response to the county’s WIP committee by the end of June.

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