Public water and sewer could come to Route 50 businesses

Public water and sewer could come to Route 50 businesses

(Nov. 15, 2013) After years of effort, new commercial properties along part of Route 50 are very likely to have public water and sewer.

For years, the county has invested time and money directing commercial development to that corridor and now public water and sewer will enable more businesses to open and will also enable small businesses to cease using septic systems.

New commercial businesses on the south side of the highway near Walmart and Home Depot will need public water and sewer. The public services will help curb the proliferation, and potential expansion, of the existing small one-site systems. Both Walmart and Home Depot were on septic systems that failed.

Last Thursday, the Worcester County Planning Commission voted to give a favorable recommendation to the Worcester County Commissioners for the requested expansion of the Riddle Farm (GlenRiddle) Service Area, located on the opposite side of the highway. That expansion would satisfy the need.

The Riddle Farm Water Service Area expansion would include commercially zoned properties extending approximately one mile west from the Holly Grove Road/Samuel Bowen Boulevard intersection along Route 50. It would also include a couple of properties east of that intersection.

The expanded area would overlay the established Ocean Landings II sanitary area to accommodate additional intensive users on those properties. That sanitary area’s limited capacity makes the additional water and sewer capacity necessary to service large chain-type stores and retail “big box” stores that are planned. Commercial establishments that could be built include department stores, restaurants and retail stores.

Water service will be made possible by the installation of a water main, crossing beneath Route 50, and tying into the existing water supply system. The proposed expansion of the service area does not require the expansion of the capabilities of the water treatment facilities for the Riddle Farm Water Service area.

The expanded sewer service area on the western side would include the same commercially zoned properties that would get public water service. In particular, Ocean Landings I, in front of Walmart, and Ocean Landings II, west of Home Depot, need the treatment capacity for build-out.

“This endeavor is to support development of those properties in close proximity to Riddle Farm,” said Mark Cropper, attorney representing applicant WGC EDU LLC operating at the behest of the county.

The county would derive tax benefits, economic development and jobs for its citizens, but would not be paying for the expansion. That would be the task of WGC EDU LLC, which accepts the responsibility for the public sewer project. It has noting to do with the public water service project.

The endeavor, Cropper said, took approximately six years to negotiate.

“To so if was difficult is an understatement,” he said.

The eastern portion of the expanded area would be on the north side of Route 50, along Grays Corner Road, where approximately 75 small commercially zoned businesses on more than 20 parcels are located.

Replacing the existing septic systems with public sewer service for those 75 or so businesses will improve water quality, according to county staff.

The design for providing the public sewer service includes a 50,000-gallon-per-day pump station and force main, crossing beneath Route 50 and tying into collection systems on the other side.

The current discharge permit’s annual average flow of 197,750 gallons per day would increase by 80,000 gallons per day, for a new total of 277,750 gallons per day. This will increase the number of EDU (equivalent dwelling units or the amount of sewer treatment used for one dwelling) from 719 to 986, an increase of 267 EDUs.

Those additional EDUs will serve the mapped commercial areas.

To dispose of the treated effluent, additional golf holes at Man of War and War Admiral golf courses at GlenRiddle will be spray-irrigated.

The existing commercial properties and the new commercial properties to get public sewer service across from Riddle Farm and west of the Route 50/Samuel Bowen Boulevard intersection are zoned C-3, the highway commercial district, the county’s most intense commercial development designation intended to serve populations of 25,000 population or more. The properties to the east of that intersection are zoned C-2, general commercial district, intended to serve populations of 3,000 or more.

Spiro Buas, who owns 8.5 acres of commercially zoned property contiguous to the southeast end of the area designated for public sewer, wants his property to be included.

Cropper said it was “within my client’s interest to have as many properties as possible,” but county attorney Sonny Bloxom said the county wants the planning area to match the service area.

Planning Commissioner Wayne Hartman said property owners “down the road” want public sewer service and Buas should be able to get it.

“I don’t think we’re being equitable,” Hartman said.

Bloxom said Buas could petition the county commissioners to be included in the area during an upcoming public hearing.

If the commissioners amend the county’s comprehensive water and sewer plan as expected, the plan would then go to the state Department of Planning and the Maryland Department of the Environment would also review it.

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