Decision postponed on water tower site Proposed location near Nickoles Drive draws opposition

November 06, 1996|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

County officials have postponed a decision on where to build a fourth water storage tower for the Freedom area.

Construction of the 130-foot, million-gallon tower, estimated to cost $1 million to $2 million, is proposed for 1998.

One potential site near Nickoles Drive and Mineral Hill Road in Eldersburg drew opposition from nearby residents.

"It just does not make sense to put it here," Bridget Leahy, a systems engineer, said of the site behind her Nickoles Drive home. "I am glad to hear they are considering alternative sites."

Land, construction costs and the distance crews would have to run water lines will figure into the final decision, said Commissioner Donald I. Dell.

"We haven't ruled out Nickoles Drive, but it is not a strong probability," he said.

Water pressure problems have beset the South Carroll area and raised concerns about the system's adequacy in an emergency, particularly a major fire.

Representatives of emergency services cited pressure inadequacies in their recent refusals to certify several proposed residential and commercial developments. "We really need the tower because there is not enough pressure," said Joseph Mettle, a member of the county planning commission. "We are wavering on approving development, based on pressure concerns."

More storage sought

The Freedom water system, which supplies 6,000 households in South Carroll, has a capacity of 3 million gallons a day. Ultimately, public works officials would like 2 million gallons of water in storage, the same amount Freedom uses daily. Construction is planned for a 500,000-gallon tower near Klees Mill Road on the site of the new Linton Springs Elementary School.

Engineers had completed designs for the proposed million-gallon tower near Nickoles Drive. But Leahy and other residents, whose homes were within a few hundred feet of the site, launched intense and well-researched opposition.

Construction at the site would mean the destruction of many mature trees, and the tower would be too far from the area's industrial center to increase water pressure, Leahy said. She produced engineering data to support her argument.

Leahy questions why the county would not consider a tower within Eldersburg Business Park on Route 32, where the elevation is 60 feet higher than Nickoles Drive.

"Citizens' concerns with the site have made us look into alternative locations," said J. Michael Evans, county director of public works.

Correct elevation needed

"We are looking for a place at the correct elevation to provide pressure throughout the entire system," Evans said.

Evans plans to show the County Commissioners three alternative sites within the next few weeks.

Leahy said county officials told her they were considering sites at the new Oklahoma Road Middle School, Carrolltowne Elementary on Ridge Road, and an unpurchased school site on Liberty Road. "None of those sites will meet the needs of the business park," Leahy said.

Pub Date: 11/06/96

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