Airport Celebrates Water Main Extension Project

Airport Celebrates Water Main Extension Project
Acting County Executive John Psota is pictured at last Friday’s water-tapping ceremony to celebrate the completion of the airport’s water main extension project. Submitted Photo

SALISBURY – The extension of a water main will bring potable drinking water and fire suppression capabilities to the Salisbury airport.

Last Friday, officials and elected leaders gathered to celebrate the completion of the Ocean City-Salisbury-Wicomico Regional Airport water main extension project with a water-tapping ceremony.

Through a partnership with the City of Salisbury, the project extended the city’s municipal water approximately six miles to the airport campus.

“It’s important for the airport, not only in terms of day-to-day operations, but in terms of future development,” said Airport Manager Tony Rudy.

In 2019, the county secured more than $4 million in grants and low-interest loans – with the state providing $1.5 million in grant funds and $2.8 million in Drinking Water SRF Loan funds – to run municipal water six miles from the Wor-Wic Community College water tower to the airport. And in 2020, construction began in earnest.

In an interview this week, Rudy noted the completed project addresses water quality issues at the airport.

For years, the facility has had to bring in bottled water to its businesses and conduct regular testing and water treatment.

“At the most basic level, it brings drinkable water to the airport and it’s tenants,” he said. “It gets us off all of these responsibilities and provides an essential need.”

Rudy added that the water main extension project will also support the construction of hangers and buildings needed to grow the airport. Part of that effort, he noted, is the addition of new fire suppression capabilities. During construction, 46 new fire hydrants were installed to serve a total of 21 buildings.

Ultimately, Rudy said the project is expected to provide for current needs and future growth at the airport and its industrial park.

“This gives us a head start if we have large hangers being built in the future,” he said.

While Wicomico County has completed the installation of the water main, the City of Salisbury will be responsible for maintaining and operating the completed water system.

The Salisbury airport water main extension project is funded by the state of Maryland and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, with cooperation from the Maryland Department of the Environment. Grant dollars were fully expended and reimbursed to Wicomico County.

“The Airport is a regional asset,” a recent news release reads, “and this critical project could not become a reality without the gracious support of the State Board of Public Works, the City of Salisbury, and Secretary Grumbles and his staff at the Maryland Department of Environment.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.