Carroll Digest

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Air quality research offered by residents to commissioners

Air quality issues dominated the Carroll County commissioners' monthly community discussion time yesterday, as two residents presented their research on emissions from the Lehigh Cement Co. in Union Bridge.

"We are concerned with what Lehigh is emitting into our air and the consequences its proposed rock crusher will add to our air quality burden," said Sher Horosko of Westminster. "We are sensitive to Lehigh's right to earn a profit and its contribution to the economic prosperity of the community. But there has to be a balance between business and concern for public health."

The company plans to install a 400-ton-per-hour rock crusher.

Horosko presented the board with a toxic release inventory, which she said she gathered from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Maryland Department of the Environment. The information ranked Lehigh 35th among 761 national companies for toxic emissions and 20th for releasing suspected respiratory toxicants.

"How much are we breathing, and how much is getting into our food and water?" asked Judy Smith of Union Bridge.

The regulation of emissions falls to state and federal agencies, Commissioner Dean L. Minnich said, while praising the research. Public discussion should continue, he said. The board will refer the information to its newly appointed Environmental Affairs Committee.

Health Department to hold last flu-shot clinic Monday

The Carroll County Health Department will have one last flu clinic from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday at its headquarters, 290 S. Center St., Westminster.

The state has removed all age restrictions and made the shots available to anyone who wants to receive an inoculation, health officials said. The cost is $15.

Information: 410-876-2152.

Commissioners authorize purchase of 11 vehicles

The county commissioners authorized the purchase of 11 replacement vehicles yesterday for $223,361.

By using state contracts, the county saved about $28,000. The state's bulk purchasing helps keep the prices down, officials said.

"I like buying as many vehicles as we can at one time, so we can get this kind of savings," said Commissioner Perry L. Jones.

The county bought seven pickup trucks and one cargo van from Criswell Chevrolet in Gaithersburg and two larger pickup trucks and a utility vehicle from Hetrich Fleet Services in Milford, Del.

Hampstead town meeting to address MTBE in wells

Hampstead town officials will hold a meeting at 7 o'clock tonight at the town hall to discuss the presence and possible solutions for the presence of the gasoline additive MTBE in some well water just outside of town.

Herbert M. Meade, administrator of the Maryland Department of the Environment 's Waste Management Administration Oil Control Program, is scheduled to attend and answer questions.

The town also plans to outline how 50 percent of the homeowners can petition for annexation into the town and be connected to its public water supply, said Town Manager Ken Decker. This would be a permanent solution, bypassing the need for the filtration systems that the state has installed in 10 of the 30 to 40 homes in the Hillcrest Avenue neighborhood east of the town line, where the MTBE was detected.

Financial help might be available from the state for the costs of connecting to the public water supply, said Decker. The town is running a new water line to that area where the old Hampstead School is being converted into senior housing.

State and county environmental and health officials are attempting to trace the source of the MTBE, or methyl tertiary butyl ether, which is added to make gasoline burn more cleanly. Studies have shown that inhaling high doses causes cancer in laboratory animals, but its effect on humans from drinking water is not known.

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