Water use is restricted in South Carroll district

Shortage `critical'

outdoor watering, car washing banned

June 02, 1999|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

Calling the water shortage in South Carroll "critical," the county commissioners enacted an immediate ban on outdoor water use yesterday for the Freedom District, the county's most populous region.

The ban extends only to the 6,500 households that use the Freedom water system. The district, which encompasses Sykesville and unincorporated Eldersburg, is home to more than 28,000 people.

Residents must discontinue "lawn watering, car washing and outside water usage until further notice," according to a news release issued late yesterday. A letter will go to each customer by the end of the week. Violators could be fined or have their water shut off.

Without an immediate ban, Commissioner Donald I. Dell said, "people down there will suffer as well as the plant equipment. This is a critical situation."

Dell called the ban unfortunate, particularly so early in the summer, but added, "We can't do anything about the weather."

The treatment plant that supplies water from Liberty Reservoir has been running above its daily capacity of 3 million gallons for five consecutive days. Use hit a record high of 3.4 million gallons Monday, straining the plant's 30-year-old equipment.

Hot, dry weather and a holiday weekend played havoc with the plant operation.

"It is having a critical effect on our ability to make enough water and meet the daily demand," said Gary Horst, county director of enterprise and recreation services. "We have been at maximum capacity for five days and have little more than half the water we need in storage. From an operational standpoint, running the plant flat-out for five days is not where we want to be."

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