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Private ‘cooling’ wells to be allowed

(1/15) The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners voted unanimously at their January 7 meeting to approve several proposed changes to public service regulations submitted by the town staff that would permit private cooling water wells.

One of the changes approved amends the town’s policy of discouraging private and individual water wells within the town limits, in order to allow wells used to cool buildings.

Town Manager David Haller said the decision was recommendation of the state Department of Health.

The change allows for wells established to be used for building cooling purposes and mandates the installation of a meter at the applicant’s costs to ensure that the well water is only used for cooling.

Even then, the proposed wells have to be approved by the mayor, the board of commissioners, and the state Department of Health.

"This will allow someone who wants to be progressive and use cooling for their large building to do it without kicking our system out of balance." Haller stated.

"It’s actually cheaper for them to do it that way than to use our water," Haller told the board. "They would still be buying the water but they would want to divert it from (not use) the sewer plant."

The cooling water, once used, would be discharged to the applicant’s stormwater management facility and not the town system. Otherwise, he said, the applicant would have to pay for sewer service.

Allowing private wells for building cooling that is not then discharged into the municipal wastewater collection system would also maintain the balance between water produced by the town and wastewater processed as the result of water consumed.

"This whole concept is to keep our two systems balanced," Haller stated.

"We don’t want to be allocating water that ends up in our sewer plant, because we have to keep both the water plant and the sewer plant balanced when you have a small (municipal) system like we do," he said.

Private wells intended for any other purpose remain taboo.

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