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Taneytown plans to take over storm water management from the county NORTHWEST -- Taneytown * Union Bridge * New Windsor * Uniontown


Taneytown City Manager Joseph Mangini says a proposal for the city to take responsibility for its own storm water management will be ready for the City Council to enact at its October meeting.

The proposal, introduced at the last council meeting, detailed a city plan to take control of the process from the county.

If the proposal is accepted, Taneytown will become one of only two towns its size in the state -- Chestertown on the Eastern Shore is the other -- to handle its own storm water management, Mr. Mangini said.

In the past, city officials have not been satisfied with the inspection process governed by the county.

"This is a real giant step for a city this size," he said.

"I am optimistic. I am proud that we are undertaking this."

Mr. Mangini said the town would incorporate the storm water planning with the other planning and zoning items related to developing land, which will make things easier for developers.

"The developer used to have to go to [the county offices in] Westminster to get plans OK'd and bring it to us to make comments," Mr. Mangini said.

"If something wasn't right, they had to go back to Westminster."

"But this will streamline things a bit," he said. "Things will be much clearer.

"There will only be one voice speaking."

A representative from the Maryland Department of the Environment's storm water management division read the 25-page document this week and said that he was "pleased" with the proposal, Mr. Mangini said.

"The county has been doing it for some time, and the City Council decided that it would be in our best interests to take on the responsibility," he said.

"We figured putting the job into the city's hands would give us a better handle on the detention ponds that are being built in the city."

The new proposal, if it's adopted, would enable the city to do its own storm water management planning, review and inspections.

Storm water management ponds collect water runoff from heavy rains and are intended to let the water drain out of the pond slowly into a body of water.

In a good pond, waste products sink into the ground, which acts as a filter to get rid of hazardous, unhealthy material.

But Mr. Mangini said not one of the four or five detention ponds in the city is in adequate shape.

The city took control of two of them -- in the Roberts Mill Run and Windy Hill subdivisions -- because they do not operate properly.

"They hold water too long," said Mr. Mangini of the two most trouble some water detention areas.

"When it does that, it becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes, and it's terrible to maintain.

"It also becomes a health hazard," he said.

City officials did not like the required inspections being done by the developer's engineers, which was permitted by the county, Mr. Mangini said.

"Our proposed ordinance is more stringent than the county's," Mr. Mangini said.

"We require a full-fledged inspection of the pond, done by our engineers, so we know things will meet our specifications."

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