County seeks Md. OK for sewer discharge system by woodlands

Pipes would go from plant at Francis Scott Key High

August 25, 1999|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

Carroll officials are seeking state approval for a newly designed discharge system at Francis Scott Key High School's idle sewage treatment plant.

A permit from the Maryland Department of the Environment is required before the county can release treated sewage into 3 acres of wooded wetlands. Plans call for laying about 3,000 feet of pipe to dry stream beds, which would act as conduits for the treated water, said J. Michael Evans, county director of public works.

"This plan may actually help regenerate the forest," Evans said. "I doubt any water will get from one end to the other without being absorbed into the ground."

Evans told county commissioners yesterday he expected a response from MDE in two weeks. "I know we can meet their limits," he said.

The project is months away from completion. In the meantime, the school system hauls as much as 7,000 gallons of sewage a day from the Uniontown school to Westminster's treatment plant several miles away. The hauling costs the county about $9,000 a month.

The county is attempting to salvage a project botched by the Board of Education. Construction of an $800,000 treatment plant near the school was halted last year when it was discovered the school system had not obtained the necessary state permits.

The county operates several similar treatment plants at Runnymede, Pleasant Valley and South Carroll.

"We get high-quality effluent," said Doug Myers, county water-sewer engineer. "It is really clear, almost looks like drinking water."

The state will impose stricter limits because the effluent will flow into wetlands, but Myers said the county could meet those demands.

Evans met at the high school recently with state environmental officials, county commissioners and a consulting company, which has designed the new system.

"We walked and talked the job," Evans said. "MDE identified acceptable options for us and parameters for those options."

Campbell and Nolan Associates of Bel Air, consultants hired for $31,560, created the design and have forwarded copies to the state. Cost estimates were not available.

"We have asked for the wetlands discharge approach and supported our position with documentation," said Evans. "MDE has told us that it sees this option as a viable solution."

Evans expects to get the permit, with contingencies.

"We will have to agree to try something else if this doesn't work," he said.

Pub Date: 8/25/99

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