Hampstead town officials met with officials of the Carroll County Bureau of Water Resource Management last night to discuss protecting potential town water supplies through the year 2020.
County staff have identified 13 potential well sites that could serve the town in the future, said Catherine M. Rappe, bureau chief.
The questions now, Ms. Rappe said, are whether the town wants protect these sites, many of which are outside the town limits, and how that can be done.
"It sounds simple," Ms. Rappe said at the meeting in the Hampstead Town Hall. "Just don't let anybody develop on top of it."
However, she said, important questions have yet to be answered. Some of the potential well sites are outside Hampstead's planning area, as set forth in the master plan. The town and the county must decide how to share responsibility for protecting these sites, she said.
"Who pays for it? Who oversees drilling and testing for it?" she asked.
Several options are available, she said. Hampstead may decide to purchase potential well sites. The town could buy easements or water rights, and it could require developers of future subdivisions to drill and test wells at the earmarked sites.
Sites within the town limits or on land that is going to be annexed are not a problem, said James E. Slater, an administrator with the county Office of Environmental Services, because the town can control what happens to those sites.
None of the sites is certain to produce a usable well. Under state regulations, the sites cannot be tested until they are about to be used.
Ms. Rappe said county staff will contact all the towns in the county by Aug. 10 to discuss wells. Staff members will then prepare a well-protection draft ordinance for presentation to the towns in late August or early September.
Hampstead Mayor Clint Becker said the topic would be raised at the next Town Council meeting, July 19.