Bid advertising due on 5 wells in Sykesville

Designs will be sought as state approval awaited

Sites on Springfield grounds

More water needed for shortages in south

Carroll County

November 06, 2003|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

Carroll County will soon advertise for bids to design a series of wells on the grounds of Springfield Hospital Center in Sykesville, hoping that a new water source for South Carroll will be on line by summer.

Although the county has not received official approval to drill wells at the state-owned location, Douglas Myers, Carroll's public works director, said yesterday that he is confident enough to proceed with the plan.

Myers said he would like to have a design for the wells in hand so that he can move forward with construction as soon as the county has the required state permits to drill.

"The state has been OK with everything we have sent them so far," Myers said. "I want wells designed so we can hook up as soon as possible."

The wells would be designed to augment by about 750,000 gallons a day the water supply in South Carroll, an area beset with seasonal water shortages.

Sean Coleman, assistant attorney general assigned to Maryland Environmental Services, said, "We are drafting an agreement for all the parties involved to review fairly soon."

Once the review is complete, the agreement must win approval from the state Board of Public Works, the Carroll County commissioners and the Sykesville mayor and Town Council, Coleman said.

The county would need a separate approval from the Maryland Department of the Environment before it could draw water from the wells.

The proposal calls for five wells and a small water-treatment plant on the hospital property along Route 32. Four of the wells would tie into the existing Fairhaven well, which the county built for nearly $200,000 and began operating three years ago.

The fifth well would stand alone with its own pumping station at the north end of the hospital property near Macbeth Way.

"Our goal is to have five more wells on the hospital site and to have them delivering water as soon as the summer," Myers said.

The county is also pursuing two other possibilities for wells in Sykesville, one in Freedom Park and another on private property, which is slated for residential construction, along Route 32 and Raincliffe Road. Seven wells would probably bring the total daily pumping capability to more than 1 million gallons, officials said.

South Carroll, home to nearly 30,000 residents, has coped with several summers of water restrictions that limited outdoor use.

The county supplies water, drawn from Liberty Reservoir, to nearly 7,000 homes and businesses. But, Baltimore owns the reservoir and limits the county's daily draw from that 45 billion-gallon reservoir to no more than 3 million gallons.

Water shortages and other infrastructure problems, such as crowded schools and roads, have forced officials to limit development in South Carroll, the most populous and rapidly growing area of the county.

The county also is negotiating with Baltimore for more land to expand the Freedom Treatment Plant and for a 3 million-gallon increase in the daily allotment from Liberty Reservoir.

"We are hoping the city responds soon to our requests," said Myers. "We are negotiating for more land and more gallons. It really looks like this is all going to happen."

The county also expects the results of a water study next month from a Baltimore consulting company. The research will help planners determine how much water South Carroll will need in the future.

"We definitely need to nail down the numbers," said Myers.

Among the unknowns is how much water the hospital and adjacent state properties will need in the next decade. Under an agreement with the state, the county must be able to provide up to 400,000 gallons daily to Springfield, but current use is about half that amount. The hospital pays the county about $530 each quarter for water.

Those numbers will increase significantly when the final phase of the state's $60 million police training center opens on former hospital property late this year.

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.

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