SALISBURY – A water main extension project will move forward in Wicomico County with the help of $4.4 million in state funding.
Last week, Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver announced the State Board of Public Works secured funding for the Ocean City-Salisbury-Wicomico Regional Airport Water Main Extension Project.
Through a combination of grants and low-interest loans, the county will receive $4,428,292 toward the project, which will run a water main roughly six miles from Wor-Wic Community College to the airport campus.
Assistant Director of Administration Weston Young said the project will enhance fire protection in the area through the installation of fire hydrants and address water quality issues at the airport. Currently, the facility brings in bottled water and water dispensers from private companies.
“We’ve had lead – which everybody knows lead is bad – we’ve had copper, we’ve had high amounts of iron,” he said. “In short, whether it’s at the terminal or it’s at Piedmont, which has hanger there, it’s not drinkable. It’s not potable.”
Airport Manager Dawn Veatch said the project will also increase development potential at the airport’s business park.
“Our fire suppression requirements for large hangers and any building over 10,000 square feet requires a high volume of pressure …,” she said. “This will open up our options and ability to build something larger than 10,000 square feet.”
Officials said the project aligns with the airport’s efforts to extend the runway and bring in a full-service fixed-base operator (FBO).
“That’s been our top three priorities,” Young said, “the runway extension, airport water and bringing in a full-service FBO. We are making progress on all three of those things.”
Young said the county has been working on this project for roughly three years. He noted the county would be working alongside city officials to tie up loose ends before construction begins in the coming months.
“The next step is we are touching up things with the City of Salisbury,” he said. “They will own the water main and you need to make sure everything is built to their standards. So we’ll be working closely with the city from here on out.”
Officials estimate the water main extension project will take a year to complete.
“The development at the airport when the water is there should be free flowing,” Veatch added.