Aberdeen, Havre de Grace close to deal on water sale

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Aberdeen and Havre de Grace are close to a deal in which Aberdeen would buy water from neighboring Havre de Grace, the mayors of each city said.

The agreement would include construction of a water line from Havre de Grace to Aberdeen.

“We are very close to signing a [memorandum of understanding] in which we will supply water to the city of Aberdeen, they will be the purchaser,” Havre de Grace Mayor William T. Martin said this week.

Both cities are finalizing small details of the agreement and coming to a final settlement on the price of water per 1,000 gallons, Martin said.

He expects it will be worked out by late January or early February.

“Aberdeen is still in negotiations with Havre de Grace,” Aberdeen Mayor Patrick McGrady said. “Everybody is excited about the possibility of a deal.”

McGrady said the agreement involves “lots of moving parts” in physically getting the water from one city to the other, including bidding for design and construction.

“Theoretically it would be done by next winter, if all the numbers work out on both sides,” McGrady said.

Among the items being negotiated are what each city will pay to build the line, “how much is our responsibility, how much is theirs,” he said.

Havre de Grace, which takes in water from the Susquehanna River and treats it at its plant on St. John Street, said the deal will benefit both cities.

“It will work out for Aberdeen to have a stable water source and we can sell water that would otherwise be sitting treated but not being sold,” Martin said.

Havre de Grace will sell its water wholesale and at a greater quantity to Aberdeen than to its residents, so Aberdeen’s rate will be lower than residents, Martin said.

Aberdeen is paying the county about $4.69 per 1,000 gallons of water, but under this deal will be paying between $4 and $4.10 per 1,000 gallons, he said.

Aberdeen buys 650,000 gallons of water from the county per day, about 250,000 gallons more than it needs, McGrady said earlier this year.

The city had asked for a lower rate to buy the water, but the county instead offered to reduce Aberdeen’s minimum purchase to 400,000 gallons a day, he said.

Aberdeen officials earlier said the county wouldn’t likely lower its rates until after a study is done, and that wouldn’t begin until after the election. The new council was sworn in Dec. 3.

In addition, a study of water rates could take up to two years to complete, and Aberdeen would like a resolution to its water issues before that.

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