Many in county facing 5 months of water restrictions

April 19, 2006|By ANICA BUTLER | ANICA BUTLER,SUN REPORTER

Most western and northern Anne Arundel County residents will face mandatory water restrictions from May 3 to Oct. 1, due to the shutdown of a corroded pipeline, the county announced yesterday.

The 54-inch water main from Baltimore County has been out of commission since January and was found last month to have significantly deteriorated.

Replacing it could take about a year, but summer is the concern because that's when demand spikes, said Pam Jordan, spokeswoman for the Department of Public Works.

"It's been fine except for some water pressure. But as the weather gets nicer ... it's the peak time for outdoor water usage," Jordan said. "We need water for basic household and business use and fire suppression."

The closed water line supplies about 5 million gallons daily, which is how much water the county hopes to conserve through the restrictions, Jordan said. Water is being redirected from other sources.

The last time the county restricted water usage was in 2003 for about 13 months, Jordan said. Then, the reason was similar - a broken water line in Baltimore City that runs under the Key Bridge. While that line was being repaired, the county also faced drought conditions.

The restrictions will be in effect from 5 p.m. to midnight Mondays through Thursdays, from 5 p.m. Fridays through midnight Sundays and all day on holidays.

During those times, residents may not water lawns or plants with a free-running hose or sprinkler; wash cars, trucks, trailers or boats at a residence; wash paved or outdoor surfaces and structures such as sidewalks, driveways and decks; or fill or top off private swimming pools, fountains, artificial waterfalls or reflecting pools.

During the restriction times, residents may water garden and house plants with cans, buckets or hand-held hoses with automatic shut-off nozzles; and wash vehicles at a commercial carwash.

The restrictions do not apply to residents with private wells.

Penalties for disobeying the restrictions may include fines and disconnection from the public water supply. Violations should be brought to the attention of Anne Arundel County police, 410-222-8610.

The mandatory restrictions will affect the following ZIP codes: 21225, 21090, 21240, 21061, 21144, 21076, 21077, 20701, 20794 and 20724.

Residents in the 21122, 21060 and 21226 ZIP codes are asked to voluntarily restrict water use. The county also asks business and governmental users to reduce water consumption by 10 percent.

Jordan said the county is working to reduce its dependency on outside water sources, but that project will take another few years to complete.

"We have plenty of aquifers and water resources," she said. "We would eventually like to be self-sufficient."

anica.butler@baltsun.com

For more information about the restrictions, call 410-222-4420 or visit www.aacounty.org.

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