Baltimore County Digest

BALTIMORE COUNTY DIGEST

October 04, 2006

Exxon Mobil resumes bottled-water delivery

In the wake of complaints from residents and state officials, Exxon Mobil Corp. has agreed to continue supplying bottled water to 97 households in the Jacksonville area, where wells were found to be tainted after a 25,000-gallon gasoline leak from an Exxon service station.

The oil company had mailed letters last week to the households informing them it would stop providing free bottled water. A company official wrote that tests have found very little or no gasoline constituents in those wells, and Exxon Mobil now believes that high levels of contaminants will not be detected in the future.

But residents, whose faith in the safety of their drinking water was shaken by the February leak, complained that they had not been notified in advance of the bottled-water cutoff. Officials with the Maryland Department of the Environment sided with the residents, threatening to require more frequent testing of residents' wells if Exxon Mobil did not resume its voluntary shipments of bottled water.

Though the state agency cannot legally require bottled water be supplied to homeowners whose wells have little or no contamination, officials insisted that it was too soon to say for certain that the wells were in no danger of becoming fouled.

Calls to an Exxon Mobil spokeswoman were not returned, but Stephanie M. McQueen, Exxon Mobil's remediation project manager, said in a letter released yesterday by the Jacksonville community association's president that bottled water deliveries would continue "at this time." She acknowledged that the decision to cut off water was made before a complete review of the situation with the state and wrote, "We regret any confusion this may have caused."

Glen A. Thomas, president of the Greater Jacksonville Association, credited the "clamor" raised by residents and officials for getting the oil company to change its mind. He also noted that at least one well within a quarter-mile of the now-closed station had suddenly shown elevated levels of the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether, or MTBE. State officials say they are unsure the problem is connected to the service station leak but are investigating.

Timothy B. Wheeler

Robberies

Public's help asked in solving cases

Police asked yesterday for the public's help to solve a series of robberies in Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties.

Detectives from both counties have determined that one man is responsible for seven daytime robberies starting in early August, police said. The robberies were in the Parkville and Rosedale areas of Baltimore County and in the Odenton, Severna Park and Glen Burnie areas of Anne Arundel County. In several of the robberies, the robber pulled out a handgun when demanding money, police said.

The robber is described as a black man, 37 to 40 years old, 5 feet 8 inches tall, with a medium build, goatee and short, braided black hair.

Anyone with information is asked to call Baltimore County police at 410-307-2020 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 866-7-LOCKUP.

Dundalk

Police seek runaway girl, 16

County police are asking for help in finding a 16-year-old who has been missing since Sept. 12, when she reportedly ran away from home, authorities said yesterday.

Cynthia Redman of the 3200 block of North Point Road ran away after an argument with her mother and has not been seen since, police said.

She is white, 5 feet, 5 inches tall, 129 pounds, with brown eyes and shoulder-length auburn hair. She was last seen wearing a black shirt, jeans and white shoes.

Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to call county police at 410-307-2020.

Towson

Pink for breast cancer awareness

Parts of the county government center in Towson have taken on a pink hue for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The Old Courthouse building will be lit with a pink glow through the month, and yesterday water was tinted pink in the fountain near the Circuit Court building.

Awards

20 police officers are honored

A Baltimore County police officer who pulled a woman from a burning car is among 20 officers selected for awards from the department.

Officer Clifton Pugh III of the Towson Precinct was awarded the department's Medal of Honor for risking his life to save the woman in February in Robert E. Lee Park, police said. Five officers received the Silver Star for valor, three received Purple Hearts and 11 others received the Emergency Service Award. The Distinguished Citizen Award went to Beth Garner, for helping her husband save a neighbor's life in May 2005, police said.

The awards were to be presented at a ceremony last night at the Dundalk campus of the Community College of Baltimore County.

Events or news items for the Baltimore County Digest may be submitted to baltco.news@baltsun.com. Information should be sent at least 10 days in advance of the event.

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