Search for new water continues

December 16, 1993|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Staff Writer

New Windsor town officials are continuing to search for an additional water supply, after their latest water exploration expedition ran aground.

"We drilled 100 feet roughly and hit a lot of mud," Mayor Jack A. Gullo Jr. said of last week's work. "But mud means there's water there; at least that's what the geologist said."

Town officials assumed responsibility for finding an additional water source in August after the combined efforts of local developers failed to produce a suitable well.

The town negotiated to drill on the current site, a quarter-acre parcel between Old New Windsor Pike and state Route 31 across from Ryland Homes, with a private landowner. A contract was signed Dec. 3 in which the town agrees to pay $43,000 if water of "acceptable quality and quantity" is found on the land.

Although the first dig was disappointing, crews will return to the site within a week to drill about 75 feet from the original hole.

"We decided if we move away from it [the original hole], we should hit water," Mr. Gullo said, simplifying the reasoning for continuing the work on the site. "We'll have to dig deeper and, if and when hit mud, deal with that problem and dig deeper."

The town has limited each developer to building 12 units until a well, or combination of wells, is found that will produce 150 gallons of water per minute to supplement the town's spring-generated water supply.

"We are the only municipality in Carroll County that has no wells. People pay for spring water, and our residents get it for free," Mr. Gullo joked.

But on a more serious note, he added that strict regulations on springs, such as frequent tests for surface water infiltration, may make it difficult in the future for the town to continue springs.

"You can look down the line and say that they aren't going to let us use springs in 10 to 15 years," Mr. Gullo said. "It will be nice to phase in wells so that eventually we could run our system using wells."

Springs on Bowersox and Dennings roads, and in Roop's Meadow near the softball fields in town, supply New Windsor with 74 gallons per minute.

The one well dedicated to the town, on the Atlee Ridge property being developed by Mike Sponseller, pumps 70 gallons per minute, but the town will not have access to it until Mr. Sponseller begins the second phase of his subdivision.

Mr. Gullo said he has not given up hope of finding water on the current drilling site. However, the town also will study its properties for other viable sources of water.

"We're not going full guns yet. And we don't expect to hit the mother lode at each place," Mr. Gullo said.

Despite his desire to expedite the process and find a supplement to the town's water supply, Mr. Gullo admits the town can function efficiently without more water -- for now.

"Water isn't in a critical stage. We still have the flexibility and capacity to service the town and the developers' needs," Mayor Gullo said. "The thing is that we don't want to jeopardize our water supply."

Mr. Gullo said the water search is necessary from an economic standpoint as well.

"We will not be borrowing any money [to pay for water system upgrades needed for development]," he said. "It will pay for itself."

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