Feaga proposes water hook-up with little or no charge County would pay $1.3 million in fees for residents

September 04, 1996|By Craig Timberg | Craig Timberg,SUN STAFF

More than 300 Howard County residents near the Alpha Ridge landfill would be hooked up to a new water system at little or no charge under a plan introduced last night by council member Charles C. Feaga.

The county began building a new $11.5 million water extension to the Marriottsville area near Alpha Ridge last month and would like to see residents shoulder some of the costs.

Under the Feaga plan, the county would pay about $1.3 million in hook-up fees for the residents, many of whom have complained that that the landfill, which has contaminated nearby ground water, will eventually contaminate their wells.

Administration officials and Council Chairman Darrel E. Drown are skeptical of the idea, noting that not a single residential well has shown clear evidence of contamination from Alpha Ridge. A public hearing on the proposal is scheduled for Monday.

Feaga, a West Friendship Republican representing the area, said he has the votes to pass the proposal, which he called a good investment in preventing health problems and limiting long-term liability for the county.

He said: "In the long haul, this is a cheaper deal for the county."

The current plan is to extend county water to 307 homes, although Feaga hopes to add four more. The county ordinarily recovers some of its costs in extending the water system through hook-up fees.

In the Alpha Ridge area, those fees would run about $4,100 a home, or $1.3 million for the entire project.

County Executive Charles I. Ecker, a Republican, has offered to have the county pay for more than half of those fees, about $2,200 per home, because of the threat of contamination.

Feaga wants the county to pay to the full $4,100 per home, claiming that unless the county pays, only one-third of homeowners will hook up. He appears to have wide support on the council, with only Drown, an Ellicott City Republican, opposing the plan. He said the expense is unnecessary since there is no clear evidence of contamination.

Public Works Director Jim Irvin said the administration is unlikely to support Feaga's proposal, noting: "Our numbers so far show there's no off-site contamination."

In other business last night, the administration has proposed a new senior housing project behind the fire station on Main Street in Ellicott City. An earlier proposal to put the project closer to the heart of the historic commercial strip drew opposition from merchants.

Also, Councilwoman Mary C. Lorsung, a west Columbia Democrat, proposed increasing the maximum fine for violation the county's discrimination law from $1,000 to $5,000.

Pub Date: 9/04/96

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