Carroll allowed to increase its sewage discharge

November 21, 2003|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

After years of legal battles, Carroll County has won approval to increase the discharge from its Hampstead wastewater treatment plant - but only if it keeps the effluent from getting too warm.

The decision Tuesday, from the Maryland Department of the Environment, raises the possibility that the county could have to spend millions of dollars to chill the discharge to the required 68 degrees.

It also requires the county to monitor the normal temperature of Piney Run, a stream whose name changes to Western Run in Baltimore County.

The plant, operating since 1975, has sparked a bitter battle between Carroll officials, who want to serve the growing Route 30 corridor with water and sewer facilities, and Baltimore County residents in rural communities to the east, who say the effluent harms the stream. Carroll has been entangled in three lawsuits with the Baltimore County-based Piney Run Preservation Association for the past eight years.

G. Macy Nelson, an attorney for the preservation group, saw the decision as a victory, saying that Carroll "cannot discharge hot water with impunity."

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