CENTREVILLE The executive committee of the Queen Anne's County Public Works Advisory Board has formulated a recommendation for providing public sewer service to communities on southern Kent Island.
In a letter to advisory board members, copied to the county Board of Commissioners, Chairman Mike Warring said the executive committee is recommending that southern Kent Island be served with public sewer service by a "denied access trunk line."
The recommendation is scheduled to be discussed and voted on at a special meeting of the advisory board scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 1, at the Chesapeake Bay Exploration Center.
The recommendation comes after recent information obtained through the Maryland Public Information Act revealed that the Maryland Department of the Environment does concur with the findings of the Queen Anne's County Health Department that there is a serious risk to public health due to failing septic systems on southern Kent Island.
In an e-mail by Ann Williams, a member of the advisory board, she advised a Stevensville resident to withhold information from county officials regarding MDE's position on failing septic tanks on southern Kent Island.
Due to revelations in the e-mail and accompanying letters, Warring postponed the advisory board's May 11 meeting in which a vote on recommendations from the SKI (southern Kent Island) subcommittee was to be held. The executive committee now has produced its own recommendations based on the construction of a public sewer trunk line extending down state Route 8 with the following stipulations:
1. The county should work with MDE and/or other funding agencies to identify and secure grant funding of sufficient value to construct a public sewer trunk line to reduce the financial burden and carrying costs associated with this component of a public sewer extension.
2. The service area should be limited to the nine communities identified with uncorrectable failing septic systems: Matapeake Estates, Normans, Sunny Isle of Kent, Chesapeake Estates, Kentmorr, Queen Anne's Colony, Kent Island Estates, Romancoke on the Bay and Tower Gardens.
3. Once the trunk line has been installed, the project can be further implemented by a multi-phased approach (i.e. community by community or by groups of communities) in order to responsibly pace any infill development that may result with the extension of public sewer.
4. Service to vacant lots within each community should be determined at such time that a new phase or community project is initiated.
In his letter to the advisory board, Warring expressed his disappointment with the events surrounding the released information.
"I cannot stress enough my disappointment with this turn of events as I have believed that all of our members were open and would share any relevant information. It is true we have differing opinions which is desirable for reaching balanced conclusions. We still have the opportunity to provide a recommendation that is best and right for our county and I urge you all to consider this seriously and objectively."
The advisory board will issue a recommendation to the county commissioners, who then will determine how the county will proceed in its efforts to solve the public health concerns.