The county commissioners have awarded a contract to a Hanover, Pa., company to build a long-awaited well in Sykesville.
Conewago Enterprises, whose $198,000 offer was the lowest of three bids, is expected to begin work next month and have the well operational by Thanksgiving.
The contract, signed yesterday, calls for the well and a small filtration and pumping station with connecting lines to a nearby county water main. Construction is slated for a 3-acre parcel owned by Fairhaven retirement community on Route 32.
"This is a positive first step for supplying water for South Carroll," said Commissioner Donald I. Dell.
He and Commissioner Robin Bartlett Frazier voted in July to build a water treatment plant at Piney Run Reservoir, a project that board President Julia Walsh Gouge opposes for fear it will destroy the popular recreation area.
Test drilling has shown the Fairhaven well could deliver up to 340,000 gallons of water daily to Eldersburg and Sykesville, a 10 percent increase in the existing water supply. The county draws 3 million gallons of water a day from Liberty Reservoir and treats the water at an aging plant.
The water could provide a short-term solution to the shortages that have reached critical levels the past three summers in South Carroll, the county's most populous area.
Carroll officials negotiated a long-term lease for the land with Fairhaven last year and received state appropriation and construction permits in July. The project cleared another hurdle last week, when the state issued a wetland permit for the well.