About 200 people from Carroll and other counties met for a well-protection conference sponsored by the Bureau of Water Resources Management.

"Water knows no political boundaries," said Catherine Rappe, bureau chief. "We all have to work toward keeping the streams clear."

The goal of the conference, held at the Quality Inn in Westminster, was to protect well heads, the area that contributes water to the wells underground through rain, streams or runoff. Rappe said she hadbrought experts there to explain to the county and town officials recent amendments strengthening the federal Safe Water Drinking Act.

County officials demonstrated the use of a Geographic Information System that keeps track of all the variables that can affect water.

The computerized system brings together information on topography, forestation, soil types, slopes and property boundaries that was previously given on different maps using different scales. Bringing it together on a computer allows county officials to see how it all relates,Rappe said.

Carroll was one of two counties in the country to receive a pilot grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency forthe information system, Rappe said.

Part of the $78,000 grant wasused to employ experts at Salisbury State University who put the information into the computer, Rappe said.

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