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Emmitsburg Imposes Water Ban

Pamela Rigaux
Frederick News Post

The winter drought has prompted town officials to ban non-essential water consumption, according to Dan Fissel, the water and waste water systems superintendent. The mandatory restrictions, imposed last week, ban watering lawns,. watering gardens with fresh water and filling pools. Ponds should only be filled enough to keep aquatic life alive. Car washing can only be done at commercial car washes, and restrictive nozzles should be used.

Rainbow Lake, the towns water reservoir, is 3.5 feet below its normal level, said Mr. Fissel. "We're calling this a drought. Our big concern is rainfall may not be happening."

Toilets should be checked for leaks, Mr. Fissel said. "This is a big issue. If it's leaking, it means it is running a lot of water." Rainbow Lake is the town's main source of water, but there are also five wells the town is using conservatively because of the lack of precipitation, Mr. Flssel said. "That's why we're running more from the lake.

Wells take longer to recharge because the groundwater needs to filter down. It could take a couple months," he said. Mr. Fissel said he's studying a couple of wells drilled in the 1960s and 1970s to see if they can be revived. He said the town is also looking for a place to possibly drill a new one.

Residents have been asked to use water wisely, said Mike Marschner, director of the Frederick County Division of Utilities and Solid Waste Management. Some towns are restricting or conserving water voluntarily. Middletown has voluntary limits said Town Administrator Drew Bowen. Repairs to Mount Airy's water system are complete, but the restrictions there were not lifted because of the dry weather, said Water Commissioner Delaine Hobbs. Thurmont has imposed mandatory restrictions on both business and residential customers. The entire state of Maryland is under a drought warning with the exception of customers served by the City of Baltimore and those served by the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, said Richard McIntire, spokesman for the Maryland Department of the Environment.

Frederick County is under a drought warning even though some customers use sources that draw from the Potomac River, he said. "A watch means there is absolutely no problem meeting the unrestricted demands of the community, but flows are below normal," said Mr. Marschner.

A warning means mandatory restrictions will be ordered if there is not substantial rain in the next two months. In Pennsylvania, a 23-county emergency drought plan is already in effect, said Wendy McPherson, a hydrologist for the U.S. Geological Survey.

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