Public sewer proposal to be discussed tonight

Silver Run, Union Mills service focus of meeting

March 10, 2004|By Hanah Cho | Hanah Cho,SUN STAFF

The neighborhood of Maple Crest suffered through water problems, including dry wells during droughts, before Carroll County officials extended water lines from the area into Westminster's public system two years ago.

Now Carroll officials are looking at providing public sewer and treatment system service to residents in the Union Mills and Silver Run areas.

Various issues, including the project's cost, scope and funding sources, will be discussed at a community meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight at Charles Carroll Elementary School in Silver Run.

Five years ago, the three communities were among the more than two dozen that were identified by the county Health Department as having water or sewer problems, or both, said Douglas Myers, the county's public works director.

"We're still looking at other communities," Myers said. "These two [Union Mills and Silver Run] came up together."

Since the Health Department assessment, county officials have addressed water or sewer problems at two communities.

In the Cranberry area just outside of Westminster, the county extended sewer service to 19 homes on Old Manchester Road in 1999. In 2002, after nearly two years of public meetings, the county extended water lines to about 25 homeowners on Wayne Avenue and Woodland Drive in Maple Crest, a 30-year-old subdivision south of Westminster.

The project cost $475,000, $239,000 of which was covered by a grant from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.

In Union Mills and Silver Run, communities north of Westminster, septic tanks have been the main problem, said Ed Singer, director of the Health Department's environmental health division.

Many of the septic and treatment systems in the two neighborhoods are older and in smaller lots, and are not easy to fix, Singer said. Also, some may not meet current environmental regulations because they were built before such rules were enacted, Singer said.

County officials said residents in Union Mills and Silver Run must decide whether they want to pursue installing a public sewer system.

"The biggest thing in making any of these projects work is whether or not the citizens think they have a problem and whether or not they want to do something," Singer said.

At tomorrow's community meeting, county public works and health officials are expected to hand out an income survey for the two communities. The state provides grants for such public works projects for neighborhoods with many low- and moderate-income families, Myers said.

"We're at the preliminary stage," he said. "We have to see if they qualify for grant money."

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