Bids to be sought on Sykesville wells

Carroll will seek designs as state approval awaited

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 the water supply by about 750,000 gallons a day in South Carroll, an area beset with seasonal water shortages.

Sean Coleman, assistant attorney general assigned to the Maryland Environmental Service, 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 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 scheduled 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.

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