Community Seeks County Water Service

SNOW HILL –  Residents of the St. Martins by the Bay community are asking the county to connect them to public water.

The Worcester County Commissioners have agreed to schedule a public hearing regarding a request from St. Martin’s by the Bay to expand the Ocean Pines Sanitary Service Area. The expansion, which has been petitioned for by residents of St. Martin’s by the Bay, would allow the St. Martin’s homeowners to connect for water service.

“We normally act on petitions,” said Bob Mitchell, the county’s director of environmental programs.

Mitchell told the commissioners the community, which was developed in 1984, was made up of 58 parcels that consisted of 28 homes, 26 townhomes, four undeveloped lots and a community pool.

“The application requests to add the subject community to the Ocean Pines Service Area, contingent on approval of a loan from a financial institution, for the purposes of providing public water service from the Ocean Pines public water system to these properties,” Mitchell wrote in his report to the commissioners.

The application proposes an initial allocation of 58 EDUs (equivalent dwelling units) or 17,400 gallons per day of water service to be extended to St. Martin’s by the Bay from a water distribution line that would connect to the Ocean Pines system.

Mitchell said the county could approach the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for funding if the county decided to move forward.

“USDA would probably have a combination of grants and loans for this project,” he said.

In a letter to the commissioners, Jack Shook, president of the St. Martin’s by the Bay homeowner’s association, said the community had struggled with a self-contained water system since its creation. Currently Sharp Water performs daily maintenance on the system.

“Some of the equipment is the original from the conception of the development and is in terrible condition,” the letter reads. “There have been numerous times when the tanks, pumps, pipes and drains have been replaced, again at the cost of the association. There have been many occasions where there has been no water supply for our community for over 24 hours due to a breakage.”

The commissioners voted unanimously to schedule a public hearing on the topic for a date in April.

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.