BALTMORE, MD (September 30, 2004) – The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and the town of Middletown have signed a consent agreement that will tie growth in the town to additional water supplies, but allow construction of a planned elementary school.
The agreement requires Middletown to develop a plan for developing new water sources and improving existing sources that will ensure that the town can meet the demand for water under drought conditions.
“We worked closely with the town to reach this agreement,” said Kendl P. Philbrick, the secretary of the environment, “and we are going to work closely with Middletown to ensure that there is a reliable and adequate water supply for citizens’ needs.”
Philbrick said that construction of the new elementary school would proceed but that the Frederick County board of education has agreed that enrollment would be restricted to students from the local area. The new school will not increase demand on the system because it will serve only students who already attend another elementary school in Middletown. When MDE concurs that there is sufficient water and the town allocates it to the school, the district’s boundaries may be expanded. Decisions about who may be served as water becomes available will remain a local matter.
Under the agreement, the town will receive water rights currently held by a local golf course.
Middletown will cease issuing building permits and cease approving subdivision plats until it demonstrates to MDE that its water supply system has the capacity to meet the demands of new connections.
The agreement establishes the existing capacity of Middletown’s system and current demand. The town will continue to monitor its water sources to verify their capacity to supply the town with water and, within three months, develop a revised capacity management plan that describes how the town will tie future growth to water capacity while maintaining a 10-percent reserve capacity.
The town will adopt an expanded water conservation program that will combine testing, loss reduction (from leaks, for example), incentives for replacement of old fixtures and public education about water conservation.
The consent agreement will remain in effect until all conditions are met. The moratorium on connections imposed by MDE in June is rescinded by the agreement.