Bain­bridge exec voices sup­port of new sewer plan

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By KATIE TABELING kta­bel­ing@ce­cil­whig.com

— As the Bain­bridge De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (BDC) con­tin­ues to court an un­named in­dus­trial com­pany, county of­fi­cials have made it clear that, at least for now, they won’t be re­spon­si­ble for lay­ing pipe to con­nect the former naval train­ing cen­ter prop­erty to county sewer.

County De­part­ment of Pub­lic Works Di­rec­tor Scott Flani­gan in­formed the county coun­cil this week that his of­fice plans to ad­dress the im­me­di­ate need of re­plac­ing Port De­posit’s ag­ing sewer treat­ment plant by 2020 with a re­cent round of de­sign-build pro­pos­als — and leave the door open for a busi­ness to con­nect to county sewer in the fu­ture.

Two years ago, county of­fi­cials pro­posed a re­gional sewer treat­ment plant that would also cater to the Bain­bridge prop­erty, which has been look­ing for de­vel­op­ment for years. That plan con­sid­ered re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing Bain­bridge’s sewage sys­tem, out­right con­nect­ing it to the forth­com­ing new sewer plant or lay­ing a pipe at the top of the hill near the prop­erty.

Ear­lier this year, the county coun­cil signed off on the Fis­cal Year 2019 Cap­i­tal Im­prove­ment Plan that de­tailed $10.7 mil­lion for a re­gional sewer treat­ment plant, but since then, the county opted to move for­ward with a smaller op­er­a­tion.

“We’re at the point where we’ve been kick­ing the prover­bial can down the road for sev­eral years now, try­ing to de­cide what’s the right plan and the level of in­vest­ment,” Flani­gan said. “It’s very much a mov­ing tar­get, which makes this so hard. But we can’t

ELK­TON

wait much longer, and we have to move for­ward with the in­for­ma­tion we have.”

BDC Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Steve Cas­sard told the Whig later that re­gard­less of what­ever plans the BDC board has the needs of Port De­posit res­i­dents should come first, and the county could work its in­fras­truc­ture back to Bain­bridge.

“I un­der­stand that with Port De­posit, time is of the essence since they’re at a point of a po­ten­tial fail­ure with their sewer plant,” Cas­sard said. “Af­ter that, we would be pleased to be ac­com­mo­dated in ad­di­tional ca­pac­ity that’s phased in the fu­ture.”

Mean­while, Port De­posit has been wait­ing for a new sewer plant to re­place the one that has sat in Ma­rina Park for the past 40 years. The pri­mary is­sue with the plant is the seal tank, or the heart of the plant, is de­te­ri­o­rat­ing and can­not take sig­nif­i­cant flow in­creases, Flani­gan said.

The so­lu­tion that county of­fi­cials came up with in 2016 was a re­gional plant with a to­tal ca­pac­ity of 250,000 gal­lons per day, perched at the top of the hill close to Bain­bridge.

There was some talk about us­ing the sewage in­fras­truc­ture that “criss-crosses” Bain­bridge and leads down Route 222. The county’s pre­vi­ous plans even in­cluded re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing that sys­tem and in­stalling pipe and a pump sta­tion to carry treated ef­flu­ent back up to the prop­erty. But Flani­gan said that pipe was “not in great shape.”

“It would take some ef­fort,” he added. “Whether it’s bet­ter and less ex­pen­sive to re­ha­bil­i­tate that net­work or whether it’s bet­ter to do some­thing new, is a ques­tion up to the de­vel­oper.”

But as the county of­fi­cials waited for word on de­vel­op­ment at Bain­bridge, the out­dated Port De­posit sewer plant could not con­tinue to wait.

The de­sign-build pro­pos­als call for a pack­aged sewer treat­ment plant, or a se­ries of linked mod­ules that are con­structed in a fac­tory and later trans­ported to site for con­nec­tion and in­stal­la­tion. That way, Flani­gan said, the Port De­posit sewer plant would have the abil­ity to ex­pand in phases, whether the de­vel­op­ment at the for­mal naval cen­ter war­rants it.

The de­sign-build pro­pos­als call for a sewer treat­ment plant closer to the ex­ist­ing plant, and is meant to serve no less than 60,000 gal­lons per day. Fu­ture up­grades could boost ca­pac­ity up to 150,000 gal­lons per day if needed.

Cas­sard said that, to his knowl­edge, the un­named in­dus­trial com­pany that is en­gaged in ne­go­ti­a­tions to come to Bain­bridge would be eas­ily ac­com­mo­dated by the planned Port De­posit sewer plant, in­stead of a larger re­gional plant. He added that the BDC and its part­ners are still eval­u­at­ing Bain­bridge’s ex­ist­ing sewer sys­tem and whether that can be used.

“There’s still a chance,” he said. “The good news is the county ex­ec­u­tive is pretty ag­gres­sive about this project, and that’s ex­tremely help­ful to us since our prospect wants to look at a sched­ule.”

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY SCOTT SERIO

The many miles of aban­doned roads at the former Bain­bridge naval train­ing cen­ter near Port De­posit are poised to once again see life with re­newed redevelopment ef­forts un­der­way.

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