Water restrictions to begin May 1


Repair of a badly deteriorated 54-inch water main in southwestern Baltimore County is forcing mandatory outdoor summer water restrictions for Howard County residents using public water, starting May 1, county officials said yesterday.

Outdoor water use will be regulated on an odd-even basis until at least Sept. 1, said county James M. Irvin, the public works director.

Residents and businesses with even-numbered street addresses will be allowed to use water outdoors on even-numbered days, and odd-numbered addresses may use water on odd-numbered days.

County police will issue warnings to offenders, and repeat offenders might face legal action, county officials said.

The damaged pipe divides in Elkridge, separating into a 36-inch pipe serving Howard County and a 48-inch main going to Anne Arundel County, which is also imposing outdoor water restrictions.

Irvin said the Howard pipe has been closed for replacement since fall, but arrival of warm weather and dry conditions raised concerns that without restrictions, water pressure could drop as people water plants, lawns, fill pools and wash cars. Discovery that the main pipe is so deteriorated it must be replaced means the work will take longer than expected, he said. Originally, plans were to put the Elkridge pipe back in service next month, Irvin said.

"Everything is OK as long as people are reasonable," Irvin said. On a hot day, he added, the county gets up to 30 percent of its water through the Elkridge connection. Most other public water comes through pipes along U.S. 40, and some water comes from the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission to the southern county.

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