The Aegis
The Aegis Opinion

Mt. Soma impoundment important project for Bel Air [Letter]

The planned Bel Air/Mt. Soma impoundment is shown viewed from the west, with the Bel Air Bypass to the left and Winters Run at the top of the graphic.


A recent editorial in The Aegis stated that a long-term, reliable source of water is needed for the town of Bel Air. At Maryland American Water, we agree.


Winters Run's annual average flow of more than 33 million gallons per day is essentially the same today as it has been over the past five decades – well in excess of the 1.4 million gallons a day used by customers in Bel Air. Combined with a Use Class IV-P classification, designated as recreational trout waters and public water supply, Winters Run continues to be an excellent water source for Bel Air.

After reviewing more than 20 options to improve the water supply during periods of lower stream flows, Maryland American Water settled on a raw water impoundment adjacent to Winters Run with minimal impacts to local ecology and stream. Furthermore, a great deal of collaboration among state, county and town officials helped produce this solution.


Water will be pumped from Winters Run into the 90 million gallon impoundment at the Mt. Soma site during times of high stream flow.

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The 90 million gallons of water that will be held in the impoundment will supply ample water to the Bel Air community – enough for the drought of record, which lasted more than 100 days.

In addition to the protection from droughts, this solution protects the community from environmental emergencies impacting stream water quality.

Water impoundments and reservoirs are viable solutions that were first implemented thousands of years ago. Tens of millions of people throughout the world continue to rely on impoundments every day for their supply of water.

Maryland American Water has served Bel Air for more than 80 years. Our parent company, American Water, brings 130 years of experience in water service, with a demonstrated record of providing safe, reliable water through many types of sources, including impoundments and reservoirs.

We realize this is a critically important project for the Bel Air community. That's why we have engaged many different stakeholders and local leaders to help us develop this long-range water supply solution, and we will continue to do so in the future.

Barry Suits

President, Maryland American Water