SYKESVILLE — In a special meeting with the three Carroll Commissioners Thursday, town officials asked the county to pay for repairs to Spout Hill Roadcaused by the location of a sewer utility line.
The town has had problems for the past several years at various locations along Spout Hill Road where underground spring water running along the sewer lines has caused the road to weaken and buckle.
At one point about three years ago, Spout Hill Road was closed while the county repaired one section of the roadway that was in dangerof collapse.
With the problem from the improperly channeled spring water continuing and reaching a critical stage, town officials are pressing the county for repairs.
"The county has an easement on the property, and it is the county's responsibility to maintain it," said Town Manager James L. Schumacher, adding the agreement between thetown and county goes back to 1967.
A videotape the town prepared of problems along Spout Hill Road was shown to the commissioners. Oneparticularly bad leak on the side of the road just above the bottom of Spout Hill will cost an estimated $9,800 to repair, Schumacher said.
While the town insisted the water problem was caused by improperly installed sewer lines that created a runway for the spring water rather than a channeled runoff line, Carroll Public Works Director Jack Sterling was equally adamant that the spring water was the cause of the problem.
"It's not our water and not our problem," Sterling said. "The technology of the time was used (to lay the sewer). It's awater problem, not a sewer problem."
"It's your sewer line creating the problem,," Council President Charles B. Mullins shot back, adding that "cracking (of the road) only happens over the sewer pipe."
Mullins also pointed out that "the county redid one part of the road where it sank, and it's holding up because a pipe was put in acrossthe road to carry the water away."
He said the county needs to dig up the road along the sewer line and install a perforated pipe -- with gravel around it -- to carry the water away from the road.
Mayor Lloyd R. Helt Jr. said the town could not dig up the county's sewer pipe to make the necessary repairs itself.
But Sterling still insisted that "making repairs would be redundant unless you get rid ofthe water," which town officials say is an impossibility.
"There are several springs that enter Spout Hill Road -- that's why it's called Spout Hill -- at different places and at different times," Schumacher said.
Logically, town officials said, the thing to do is simply divert the water.
But when the commissioners left the meeting, it was only with a promise that they would bring up the matter for discussion soon and would get back to the town "in the very near future."
Schumacher said if the town doesn't hear from the county on thematter, Sykesville officials will pursue it, in court if necessary.