County Exploring Ocean Pines Golf Course Irrigation

SNOW HILL – Officials are expected to begin exploring the possibility of irrigating the Ocean Pines Golf Course with effluent from the community’s wastewater treatment plant.

On Jan. 7, the Worcester County Commissioners approved a request from the Ocean Pines Water and Wastewater Advisory Board to evaluate the potential of using effluent at the golf course.

“Over the last several months the Ocean Pines Water and Wastewater Advisory Board has encouraged the county to look at the reuse of treated effluent onto the Ocean Pines Golf Course,” said John Tustin, the county’s director of public works. “We’ve had a lot of success with Eagle’s Landing, River Run, Glen Riddle, spraying effluent on those facilities.”

Tustin said the county had approached Ocean Pines Association General Manager John Viola to see if officials there had any interest in the proposal.

“It appears they do,” he said.

In his memorandum to the commissioners, Tustin cited the benefits of spraying effluent at the course.

“The use of effluent at the Ocean Pines Golf Course would produce both practical and environmental benefits,” he wrote. “These include a reduction of nutrient discharges to the Saint Martin’s River while also reducing the use of groundwater from the current drinking water aquifer for golf course irrigation.”

Tustin expects the preliminary evaluation of the proposal to provide officials with estimated project costs, potential funding sources and possible regulatory hurdles.

When asked about the effect irrigating would have on the treatment plant, Tustin said it could free up capacity. He said Ocean Pines currently used about 200,000 gallons per day on irrigation.

“We’d be supplying 200,000 gallons per day thus taking that out of the river and possibly expanding some excess capacity,” Tustin said.

He pointed out that the irrigation system at the golf course was about 50 years old and would likely need to be revamped if the county did move forward with the proposal. He said any costs incurred with that would be born by the residents of Ocean Pines.

The commissioners voted 6-0 to allow the Ocean Pines Water and Wastewater Advisory Board to evaluate the possibility of irrigating the course with effluent.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.