County pitching in $128,100 to Md. project for wells

Springfield plan is aimed to ease water shortages

March 05, 2003|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

The county commissioners agreed yesterday to contribute $128,100 to a state construction project at Springfield Hospital Center in Sykesville and asked for a prompt resolution to issues that might delay Carroll's plan to build a series of wells at the hospital to augment the area's water supply.

In a letter to the Maryland Environmental Service, the commissioners pledged to pay the cost of building a pipeline along the hospital's Main Street that is larger than originally planned. They also asked in the letter for state approval for the design, installation and maintenance of as many as six wells on the Springfield property.

The wells "will ensure an adequate supply to the hospital complex and alleviate shortages in the Freedom area," the commissioners wrote in the letter. The county's contribution to the state project represents the cost of upgrading a proposed pipeline from 12 to 16 inches. By sharing the pipeline with the state, Carroll can enhance fire protection capabilities, improve water pressure in the town and provide a backup should problems occur in its system, officials said.

Approval for the $1 million pipeline project is expected to go before the state Board of Public Works on March 19 and construction could begin next month.

"This letter allows the state Board of Public Works to see that we are sharing in the costs of this project," said Douglas E. Myers, county public works director.

The shared project could save Carroll taxpayers about $1 million, the estimated cost of a parallel pipeline planned along Route 32 that would no longer be necessary.

The proposed wells could increase the water supply in South Carroll by as much as 1 million gallons a day. South Carroll, also known as the Freedom area, is the county's most populous zone and one that suffers seasonal water shortages.

"We have many outstanding issues yet, but we are trying to reactivate the previous plan for wells," said Steven D. Powell, county chief of staff. "We intend to enter into this agreement and we will continue to work with the state to resolve these issues."

The county needs state permits to drill the wells and to draw water from them. The wells and the enlarged pipeline will help the county meet water demand, including the needs of the hospital. Under an agreement with the state, the county must be able to provide up to 400,000 gallons daily to Springfield Hospital, but current use is about half that amount. The hospital pays the county about $530 each quarter for water.

Those numbers will increase significantly this fall when the final phase of the state's $60 million police training center opens on former hospital property. Myers estimates that the police center will require an additional 150,000 gallons a day and that the state's bill will be about $8,000 annually.

Construction of the training center entailed significant upgrades to Springfield's utilities.

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