Work under way to end flooding along road Resident says rerouting water will hurt stream

July 15, 1996|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

A stubborn, two-year dispute over water draining from a Pennsylvania housing development into Baltimore County may be coming to an end.

The contractor building the homes near New Freedom began work last week on his part of a deal with county officials to route the water through a grass swale and into a 1,360-foot-long pipe leading to Bee Tree Run. That is designed to end complaints of flooded yards along Keeney Road -- waters that turn icy in winter.

The plan is to close Keeney Road, tear up the paving and build a grassy swale or ditch that will help cleanse water coming from the storm water pond in Pennsylvania. After passing through the ditch, the water will drain into a pipe and run downhill to the stream.

The county is to build the swale, and the second half of the pipeline. The work should be finished by winter.

There's just one catch.

Joseph Preston Kendall, 65, a retired labor organizer who has lived on Keeney Road for the past four years, says the plan will damage the trout stream. He's called or written everyone from the American Civil Liberties Union to the U.S. attorney trying to block the project.

That hasn't made him very popular with neighbors -- or with county officials, who have asked Cockeysville precinct police officers to visit the site and make sure everyone stays civil.

"He just wants to raise Cain. He should be satisfied," said John Keeney, 75, who, with his wife, Frances, has lived in the area since 1946.

"There's no other way to solve it," Keeney said about the work in progress. "The good Lord put [the water] down here and he isn't going to take it back," he added, arguing that no more than one or two trout have been seen in Bee Tree Run near their homes for years.

James Gracie, a member of the Maryland-Atlantic council of Trout Unlimited, a private, nonprofit group, said sun-warmed water draining into a trout stream can be trouble, because trout "can't stand hot water."

Kendall says county officials should have forced the builder, Robert A. Kinsley Inc., to install pumps to keep water running off the last section of the Quail Ridge development out of Maryland.

But Thomas Hamer, county deputy public works director, says Kinsley is abiding by Pennsylvania law, and county officials cannot control what happens outside Maryland. "He hasn't broken any laws in Pennsylvania, and he agreed to help end the problem in Maryland," Hamer said.

George Perdikakis, director of the county Department of Environmental Protection and Resource Management, said the water has been running into the stream for the past two years, carrying sediment and pollutants with it.

"My people feel this [solution] is a big improvement," he said. "Before, it took a lot more stuff with it. You're not going to have water coming through a field anymore. Is it ideal? Certainly not."

Pub Date: 7/15/96

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