Salt of the earth not only at tavernThe Sun last Tuesday...

SATURDAY MAILBOX

July 10, 1999

Salt of the earth not only at tavern

The Sun last Tuesday had an article about salt contamination of the ground water near the Manor Tavern ("Salty days near an end at Monkton restaurant," July 6).

I am familiar with this issue because I identified the problem at the Manor Tavern. The article was good, but should have been expanded to point out that there are many other properties in Baltimore and Harford counties where salt (chlorides) is a problem.

As a dealer of well-water pumps, I have all too many customers who have elevated chlorides -- we seem to find that problem in one or two new wells every month.

Levels range from about 150 parts per million (PPM) to, in one case, more than 1,000 PPM. Potable water should have no more than 150 PPM.

Chlorides (salt) give the water an unpleasant taste and make water much more corrosive to plumbing and other household systems. Also, salt contributes to high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

Most of the salt problems we have encountered have come from salting roads in winter, but occasionally we find homeowners who contaminate their own wells with salt from water softeners.

The worst of it is that salts are very stable compounds. They do not degrade into simpler substances and they are not easy to remove.

One way to deal with such problems that we often hear about would be using compounds other than sodium chloride salt (table salt) on the road. But there are problems with this alternative.

First, sodium chloride is the cheapest material. Second, any other salt (for example, calcium chloride or magnesium chloride) is just as corrosive and probably is not a food grade material.

And all salts (there are many) are very stable and persist forever.

It is high time we started to protect the valuable resource of ground (well) water against salt and fuel spills.

The water that comes from your well does not come from some magical place 100 miles away. It comes from the rain that falls in your immediate vicinity.

It is up to all of us to protect this natural resource against contamination.

Bruce H. Gallup Jr. Towson

`Old Liners' earned every bit of honor

Shame on Barry Rascovar for protesting Gov. Parris Glendening's selection of the "Maryland Line" as the theme for the state's commemorative quarter.

At the critical moment of the Battle of Long Island, greatly outnumbered and with those all around them retreating, the Maryland troops charged the British line in four successive attacks, successfully covering the retreat of Gen. George Washington and his army.

These 400 fine Revolutionary War patriots did nothing less than save the Continental Army from certain capture -- at a terrible cost of casualties to more than 50 percent of the unit.

To refer to this event as "an obscure, and largely forgotten, footnote in American history" shows an amazing lack knowledge of one of Maryland's proudest moments.

Other suggestions for the quarter's theme can be properly made, but none could possibly reflect a greater sense of honor or sacrifice than to recall this noble event.

Governor Glendening made the right call.

Joseph Merryman Coale III Ruxton

The writer is a trustee on the board of the Maryland Historical Trust.

The 29th Division of Maryland's National Guard traces its ancestry to the Marylanders who saved the American Revolution.

In the Battle of Long Island, General Washington's army was in an untenable position in Brooklyn (New York). The Maryland unit volunteered to hold the old line while Washington withdrew his army to establish a new battle line.

Marylanders saved the day. Out of appreciation, fellow soldiers acknowledged them as the "Old Liners."

I'm proud to be an "Old Liner." I'm proud of the many contributions and sacrifices our citizen soldiers have made for their country.

It would be ridiculous to commemorate our state with a beer commercial slogan, a whiskey drinkers motto or a steamed crab, as Barry Rascovar's column suggested.

Good for the governor for knowing and appreciating Maryland's history.

Henry P. Turner Baltimore

As a member of the 1st Battalion, 175th Infantry, I am infuriated that Barry Rascovar was so dismissive of the phrase "The Old Line State" and what it represents (" `Old line' not worth two bits (Opinion Commentary, July 3.) It represents what my predecessors fought and died for.

If not for the fact that those brave soldiers were willing to "buy with their blood an hour more precious than any other in the history of this nation," (in another of George Washington's "utterances") we might not be be celebrating independence at all.

The fact that Mr. Rascovar believes that Washington's dubbing Maryland the "Old Line State is obscure and largely forgotten" indicates to me that perhaps Mr. Rascovar should crack a book of Maryland history.

When celebrating our independence, Marylanders should feel proud of the contributions to freedom they have made since Mordecai Gist formed the Baltimore Cadets on Dec. 3, 1774.

Patrick A. Young Abingdon

Efficient route to green power

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