Army agrees to build well for Phoenix neighborhood

October 19, 1991|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Baltimore County Bureau of The Sun

After 10 years and about 10,000 gallons of bottled water, John Klass is due to get potable running water.

The Army Corps of Engineers and Baltimore County announced yesterday that they have reached an agreement under which the Army will pay $1.4 million for a community well system for Mr. Klass, 62, and his neighbors along Sunnybrook Road in Phoenix.

Residents of the eight homes have been using bottled water since 1981 when their tap water was found to be contaminated with solvents that leached into wells from a nearby abandoned Army Nike missile base.

Eugene Neff, county public works director, said that work on the system will begin next summer and should be completed by early 1993.

Plans call for a community well and treatment plant to be built at a site the county will buy or condemn at Old York and Paper Mill roads.

The corps agreed to pay for the well system three years ago, but it was never implemented because the county wanted assurances that the army would continue to cover operating costs if there were any problems.

The corps wanted water piped in from the public water system. But county officials discarded that option when residents in Phoenix, a rural area in northern Baltimore County, argued that tying the community in with public water would mean more development.

Mr. Neff said yesterday that the agreement means that the Army will pay $50,000 a year for the next 10 years to operate the system.

The agreement was announced yesterday at a news conference called by U.S. Representative Helen Delich Bentley, R-Md.-2nd, who helped to bring about the pact.

Mr. Klass said Thursday that he raised three children using Great Bear bottled water, which was delivered to his door once a month courtesy of the U.S. Army.

The family showered and bathed in the contaminated water.

But in the years his children were at home, he went through 80 gallons of water a month.

"This is good news," Mr. Klass said.

"We've been waiting for this for years."

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