Proposed $34 million pipeline in West Laurel to be discussed

A proposed $34 million pipeline to be built in West Laurel around Bond Mill Road and Brooklyn Bridge will be the topic of a public meeting on Sept. 18, at 7 p.m., at the Howard Duckett Community Center.

Once constructed, a 48-inch diameter raw water pipeline, about 2.5 miles long, will run from the Rocky Gorge Raw Water Pumping Station, on Brooklyn Bridge Road, to the Patuxent Water Filtration Plant, located on Sandy Spring Road.

The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission plans to upgrade the plant to produce more water on a daily basis, according to Luis Maya, a WSSC spokesman. The commission is a bi-county water sewage agency that provides safe drinking water and wastewater management to Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. It owns both the plant and pumping station.

Currently, the plant has three pipelines that can produce up to 64 million gallons of water per day. The addition of the fourth pipeline will allow for an average of 72 million gallons to be produced each day with a maximum of 110 million gallons if needed.

The proposed pipeline will be funded by the commission’s capital improvement plan, according to Maya.The meeting on Sept. 18 will provide an update to all community members about this decade-long project.

“We want the community to come out, “ Maya said. “[we want] to be transparent and answer all their questions.”

The West Laurel Civic Association, which represents the interest of 1,800 homes in West Laurel, has had several meetings with the commission about the pipeline throughout the project.

Verbal agreements were made in the past between the commission and the association regrading digging up the road in sections, laying the pipe to the north of the road and not underneath the road itself and repaving the entire width of the impacted roadway and the sidewalks once the pipe is installed., according to, Barbara Sollner-Webb, a West Laurel resident and the association’s president.

“We are not trying to destroy the intake of water. We are hoping they will live up to the promises they made years ago,” Sollner-Webb said. “West Laurel could be disrupted a bit, but it could be a win for West Laurel if the promises are kept.”

Sollner-Webb hopes the pipeline will run just north of Brooklyn Bridge Road. Maya did not know exactly where the pipeline would be built.

“However, the roads will never be closed completely. [the construction] will happen in sections,” Maya said.

Construction will be sectioned off for “a variety of reasons,” to ensure that traffic on Brooklyn Bridge and Bond Mill roads “is the most effective,” Maya said.

Melissa Daston, the association’s former president and a West Laurel resident, is expecting next week’s meeting “to be loud” with many residents coming with questions.

If the agreements from the past are not met, “there will be a flare up between the community and WSSC,” Daston said.

Prince George’s County Councilwoman Mary Lehman, who represents West Laurel and lives in the area, is curious to see how the commission will approach the project from beginning to end.

“A lot of residents live along the Bond Mill [Road] corridor … it’s the main artery in and out of West Laurel,” Lehman said.

The project is currently in the design phase and the competitive bidding process is scheduled for the winter. Construction is tentatively set to begin in the summer of 2019 and is scheduled for two-and-half-years, Maya said.

jnocera@baltsun.com

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