Carroll seeks more water from city-owned reservoir

Baltimore stresses need to protect watershed

August 15, 1999|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

To ease water shortages in Carroll's most populated area, county officials have entered into negotiations with Baltimore City to draw more water from Liberty Reservoir.

The county would like to increase by 2 million gallons its daily allocation of water from the reservoir, a 75 billion-gallon lake the city owns, and expand the Freedom Treatment Plant in Eldersburg. The county must win the city's approval to proceed.

The county commissioners and several department heads who met recently with George G. Balog, Baltimore's public works director, said the city was receptive to their proposals.

"We have an agreement in principle to allow additional withdrawal [of water] and for an expansion of the plant," said Gary Horst, county director of enterprise and recreation services.

Balog said Friday that "there is still work to do before there is an agreement." The city will not approve the project until it has assurances Carroll will not increase development in the watershed areas, Balog said.

An increase in reservoir volume is feasible, but the city remains "sensitive to preserving the pureness of the water. Building in the area could affect its quality," Balog said.

South Carroll has nearly tripled in population to more than 28,000 since the plant was built in the early 1970s with a daily 3 million-gallon capacity. The water system is often strained by operating at full capacity, supplying about 6,700 homes and businesses.

For the past three years, summer has meant restrictions in water use for residents who rely on the public water system. South Carroll's infrastructure has not kept pace as development continues.

During the meeting with Balog, the city "expressed concerns about rezoning acres for development," said Horst. Balog referred to a proposed growth plan that suggests rezoning nearly 500 acres in South Carroll for residential development. The county planning commission opposed those rezonings. The county commissioners have not reviewed the plan.

"After we explained that the county planning commission opposed those rezonings, the city was more responsive to our position," Horst said.

The county expects to draft a memorandum of understanding for the city that stresses Carroll's environmental policies, Horst said.

J. Michael Evans, county director of public works, said Carroll offered Balog "a fairly impressive list" of its environmental efforts.

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