Baltimore agrees to sell water to Harford County BALTIMORE CITY

December 03, 1992|By Michael A. Fletcher | Michael A. Fletcher,Staff Writer

Baltimore has agreed to sell untreated water to Harford County, a move that is expected to satisfy the county's water demands for about 16 years.

Harford County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann and Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke signed the agreement yesterday during a ceremony at the city's Montebello Filtration Plant.

Harford County residents should begin receiving the water in 1994 after the county opens a new filtration plant in Abingdon. The water purchased from the city should help the county meet its water needs until the year 2010, county officials said.

Harford County's water supply now comes from a well field in Perryman and a plant in Havre de Grace that draws water from the Susquehanna River.

In addition, Havre de Grace and Aberdeen each have municipal water systems while most of Bel Air and some other areas of the county are served by the private Maryland-American Water Co.

But the county is growing fast and the daily demand for water has been increasing by 500,000 gallons every year, officials said.

Through its system, Harford County has the ability to supply some 7.3 million gallons of water a day. But those facilities cannot be expanded, prompting the need to buy water from the city, officials said.

"The growth of the county is overtaxing our facilities," said William T. Baker Jr., Harford County's director of public works.

Under terms of the agreement, the city will at first supply 2 million gallons a day of untreated water. The amount supplied by the city to Harford County will eventually increase to 20 million gallons a day, under the agreement. The water supplied to Harford County by the city will come from the Susquehanna, from which the city gained the right to draw water in 1955. Harford County is unable to draw more water from the river because it lacks the intake and pumping facilities needed.

"It is very cost-prohibitive to build a new intake line," Mr. Baker said.

The deal calls for Harford County to pay the city $2.9 million to cover connection costs for the water. Annual costs will then JTC range from $50,000 to $200,000 for the water supplied, with the cost increasing as Harford County draws more water.

The money paid to the city will go into a special water utility fund which by law is separate from the rest of the city budget and can be spent only on the water works.

The city already supplies water to Baltimore County and portions of Anne Arundel, Howard and Carroll counties.

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