Work moves along on Bel Air reservoir, despite the rainy weather

Work moves along on Bel Air reservoir, despite the rainy weather
The Maryland American Water Company's Bel Air reservoir project continues as workers from liner installation contractor, Hallaton, work Wednesday morning any the site located between the Bel Air Bypass and Business Rt. 1 near Old Joppa Road. (Matt Button/The Aegis)

Amid all the rainy weather the past two weeks, construction has continued on the new water storage reservoir on the outskirts of Bel Air.

The 90-million gallon capacity impoundment is on pace to be completed and in service by late October, according to Alison Bibb-Carson, external affairs manager for Maryland American Water Company.


Maryland American, a public utility that provides water service to the Town of Bel Air and some adjacent areas, is building the reservoir to improve its supply reliability. Ground was broken last summer for the project, the estimated cost of which is $15.4 million.

In late June, the company said the reservoir was about 85 percent complete.

The reservoir will cover about 11 acres just west of Winters Run between the Bel Air Bypass and Route 1.

Once it is completed, water will be gradually pumped from Winters Run to fill the reservoir, which is across the stream and a bit north of Maryland American’s treatment plant. The stored water will then flow to the treatment plant as needed.

Excavation for the reservoir is finished, and this week installation began on the liner. Bibb-Carson said installation of a bridge to give employees access to the impoundment was completed Monday.

Part of the project involves stabilizing the bank downstream from the reservoir.

“Maryland Department of the Environment noted that erosion downstream was destabilizing the right side of the stream channel and, if allowed to progress, it could lead to damage,” Bibb-Carson wrote in an email Wednesday. “MDE required us to stabilize the stream bank to protect the dam from damage by installing riprap on the stream bank.”

That work involves constructing a temporary access road from Route 1 to the stabilization area. Some of the road was washed away during the heavy rain last Friday, Bibb-Carson confirmed.

“Our team cleaned up the debris early Monday morning, and it is not associated with the [water] intake or impoundment project,” she wrote.

To defray the cost of building and operating the reservoir, Maryland American has filed a rate increase petition with the Maryland Public Service Commission. Maryland American has approximately 5,000 residential, business and institutional customers. The latter group includes many Harford County government facilities.

For a residential customer with average consumption, a monthly bill will increase about 37 percent, if the full increase is approved, according to the company.

The Public Service Commission has scheduled a pre-hearing conference on the rate increase request for Aug. 10 at 10 a.m. at 6 St. Paul St. in Baltimore.

The purpose of the conference, which is open to the public, is to set a procedural schedule, consider any petitions to intervene and any other preliminary matters requested by the parties, according to a published legal notice about the conference.