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Havre de Grace agrees to sell Aberdeen water

The cities of Aberdeen and Havre de Grace have reached an agreement under which Aberdeen will buy 500,000 gallons of water daily from Havre de Grace for $4 per 1,000 gallons.
The cities of Aberdeen and Havre de Grace have reached an agreement under which Aberdeen will buy 500,000 gallons of water daily from Havre de Grace for $4 per 1,000 gallons. (Aegis file)

After several months of negotiations, the cities of Aberdeen and Havre de Grace have reached a water agreement.

Havre de Grace will sell Aberdeen 500,000 gallons a day at a rate of $4 per 1,000 gallons, according to Aberdeen City Manager Randy Robertson.

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The Aberdeen City Council members voted unanimously at their meeting Monday night to approve a memorandum of understanding between the cities.

“This is such an exciting, momentous time,” Aberdeen Mayor Patrick McGrady said. “What this establishes is, for the first time in ever, Aberdeen will not be dependent on the county for production of water, if this comes to fruition.”

Instead, Aberdeen will work “hand in glove” with its sister city, Havre de Grace,to deliver to water to residents at a rate lower than it would be able to get from other sources, he said.

Aberdeen is still a long way from getting Havre de Grace’s water, however, and will continue to buy it from the county at a rate of $4.69 per 1,000 gallons. It buys 400,000 gallons a day, reduced earlier this year from 650,000 gallons.

The agreement is expected to save the city of Aberdeen $120,000 to $125,000 a year once it’s in place, Robertson said.

That process could take up to 18 months if the cities have to lay their own pipes, he said.

The two cities could use the county’s water line to get water from Havre de Grace to Aberdeen or build a new line.

Both cities will be looking for grants or bonds to pay for construction, Robertson said, but with or without those, they will move to design the distribution system.

“We’ll hire an engineer to design what the system will look like to get water from Havre de Grace to Aberdeen,” McGrady said.

Both cities will pay for construction, costs of which are expected to be nearly the same for each, Robertson said.

Aberdeen would have had to build a pumping station at Rock Glenn — at its own expense — regardless of the agreement of Havre de Grace, he added.

“That’s already half the cost,” Robertson said.

Havre de Grace Mayor William T. Martin said the deal between Havre de Grace, which takes in water from the Susquehanna River and treats it at the plant on St. John Street, and Aberdeen is a “very fair deal for both cities.”

“From the very beginning we wanted to enter into an agreement that was mutually beneficial for all of our citizens,” Martin said.

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