Morris Mill Project to Connect Residents to New Water System - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Morris Mill Project to Connect Residents to New Water System

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This water tower under construction will provide water to the Morris Mill subdivision. (Photo: WBOC) This water tower under construction will provide water to the Morris Mill subdivision. (Photo: WBOC)

FRUITLAND, Md.- Residents in the Morris Mill development will soon be connected to a new public water system that will be coming from Fruitland.

You have probably seen it. A new water tower, located at the end of Slab Bridge Road. It can be seen off Route 13. It is apart of the $8 million Morris Mill Project that is being funded by state and federal grants. The Maryland Department of Environment and the US Department of Agricultural Rural Development are providing the money.

The water tower will serve 273 residents off Morris Mill and Coulburn Mill roads.

Resident Arlene White will be tied into the new system once it is up and running.

"It's better in the sense that everyone will know that their water is safe, and I think that's the prime piece," White said.

In 2012, neighbors in the residential area, owned by the county, reported smelly water with a weird taste to county health officials. Concerning levels of the industrial solvent, Trichloroethylene (TCE), were discovered in some wells across the area. The chemical is associated to cancer of the kidneys and other organs.

Wicomico County Public Works Director Weston Young said the chemical thrives in areas that do not get much air. 

White said she and others had many questions when TCE was found in their well water .

"I think all of us who were involved were concerned about how long this had been going on, and how it happened," White said. 

The Environmental Protection Agency conducted an investigation, but how TCE got there was never found. The EPA provided water bottles to residents and filtration systems to the homes affected.

White is grateful, but said she and others have been concerned about their property values and what is going to happen with their systems in place. She said those who did not have contamination in their water are not happy about being forced to convert to the new system. A monthly fee between $30 to $40 will be incurred for the connection, according to Young. That is something some people are bothered by as well. 

Young tells WBOC the county is not willing to take any chances when it comes to the safety of its residents. He said everyone in the Morris Mill area will be required to connect to Fruitland's water supply. It is not an option. He said TCE is tricky because it moves underground.

"Your well could be clean today and be contaminated tomorrow," Young explained. "It's really not worth the risk or the public safety standpoint."

The water tower will hold 500,000 gallons of water. 

Water bills could average out $90 per quarter for up to 8,000 gallons, according to Young. 

The project will be complete in early spring of 2016. 
 

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