by Lisa Tome
If you want to know where Cecil's growth areas are, ask Joe DiNunzio.
DiNunzio, vice president of Artesian Water, provided an update of services provided in the county to the county council recently.
DiNunzio said that Artesian now serves 2,400 metered customers in the county. The growth resulted from customers in Cherry Hill, Charlestown Crossing, and Principio Business Park.
DiNunzio said he is feeling optimistic about development at Bainbridge.
"For the first time in a long time, there is a cause for optimism. We're not seeing anyone (develop) within a week, but there are reasons to be optimistic," he said.
Councilman George Patchell asked about service to Route 40 east. "We've seen no interest in that area. We go where the interest is. Until something happens, you won't see it in the area," said DiNunzio. Bainbridge, Principio, and Meadowview is where the action is," said DiNunzio. He also said there is no activity between North East and Elkton along Route 40. "If you build it and no one comes, you have stranded investment," he said.
DiNunzio said the water company's relationship with the towns of Elkton, Chesapeake City, and Port Deposit is positive. The planned future connectivity won't include Rising Sun or Cecilton. He said there have been no discussions with Perryville. "We will find ways, over time to work with each other," he said.
A real project, according to Artesian, is 100,000 gallons of water per day. "We will sit down and work with them (future customers) to meet their needs. We want to be included as early as possible in somebody's plans," he said.
While DiNunzio discussed water, county Public Works Director Scott Flanigan provided an overview of the Elkton West Sewer project.
"We've got what we think is a good plan. And we're moving forward with it. We need to talk about this more going forward. We need to not wait until there's a prospective user," said Flanigan.
He provided history of county sewer projects including Carpenters Point in the 2000s and Bayview in the 1980s. He said that the Elkton West Sewer project is being driven by economic development along Route 40.
The first plan, to collect and convey sewage to Meadowview was rejected due to expense and non existent pipe on Route 40.
The second plan was to partner with the Town of Elkton and have the county become a bulk customer to the town while infrastructure to Meadowview was put in place. "We were not asking for forever. We wanted ten years," said Flanigan. Elkton denied that plan.
"This is water under the bridge. We have moved on. If Elkton came and said they would do it, I would say we are no longer interested," said Flanigan.
The current plan is now to convey sewage to the North East River Wastewater Treatment Plant at Seneca Point. The first phase of that project would be to install 2,500 linear feet of 12 inch pipe up Marley Road. The design for this project is complete. The estimated cost is $1.9 million and the construction is estimated at six months.
"Marley is shovel ready," said Flanigan. He also said that there is not enough money for this project.
"Sewer projects for economic development are different in key respects from those done for public health and environmental reasons," said Flanigan. "The administration and council need to strive to come to an agreement regarding funding and priorities."