New Windsor is set to borrow about $1.5 million from the state to pay for improvements to the municipality's water system.
The first phase of the long-planned upgrades included drilling a well on the town-owned Dennings farm, the fourth well for the town of about 1,100. New Windsor, once the smallest of Carroll's eight towns, has seen much development in the past decade, adding about 400 people to its population.
The new well and pumping station will be connected to the town system as soon as possible and pumping before summer, officials said. Output from the Dennings well will vary depending on water needs. A variable-speed pump will ensure that the well will deliver only the amount of water needed.
The town will use the state money to pay for the Dennings well and for several other improvements. The town also is drilling test wells on several other properties it owns.
"The new wells will come along as we need them," said Mayor Sam Pierce. "We have a really good water table that is more than enough for our needs."
While other towns in Carroll imposed mandatory water restrictions during the devastating drought last year, New Windsor called for voluntary conservation.
Long-range plans call for a second water storage tank, an overhaul of the existing tank, new pipelines and the installation of a chlorine-content holding tank to replace the open reservoir from which the town draws water.
"Everyone will go along with these improvements because they are all needed," said Councilman Neal C. Roop. "We have some water lines that date back to 1906. I am sure there is sediment and lots of leaks. We can't let water get away."
A second 375,000-gallon tank would be built on Rowe Road near the existing 250,000-gallon tank. When the old tank, built in 1975, is completely refurbished, it will be put back into service. Two storage tanks should improve water pressure and enhance fire safety, officials said.
"If something ever happened to that one tank that has never been refurbished, what would we do for fire protection?" Roop asked.
The state is requiring the town to replace its open reservoir with an enclosed chlorinating system and holding tank that will store and treat water coming into the system from the wells.
"The state does not like open reservoirs, so we are enclosing everything," said Councilman Terry Petry. "We will be able to chlorinate the water in a more feasible manner with the new system."
The improvements stem from recommendations by a task force appointed about three years ago to study town water needs.
"The task force set the direction for us and we need to go there," said Roop.
The 30-year loan comes from the Maryland Resources Administration.
"We have been studying our infrastructure for a couple of years now and these are all improvements we need," said Pierce. "We have had a lot of growth and with more houses, you need more water. We have a solid commitment from the state for a low-interest loan."
And, Roop added, "We might as well take advantage of it."