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Community Development Block Grant Brings Potable Water to Allegany County Homes

With help from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, two Allegany County communities now have access to clean drinking water for the first time. A $400,000 Community Development Block Grant helped fund the water

Prior to being connected to the county water supply, several residences in the Prince Albert area were only able to receive water via a homemade siphon in a nearby creek.

project, which supports homes in the Prince Albert and Sunnyside communities near Mount Savage. The $1.4 million project also received $956,000 from the United States Department of Agriculture and $300,000 from the Maryland Department of the Environment.

The need for the project was critical.  In Sunnyside, 43 houses were not connected to the public water supply and in Prince Albert, an additional 18 households had no access to public water. According to David Nedved, who oversees community development, grants and special projects for  the Allegany County Department of Economic and Community Development, four homeowners in the Prince Albert area had set up a sump pump in the creek which they shared to provide water to their homes. In Sunnyside, where there had previously been underground mining, the water was drinkable, but was orange-tinted due to the presence of iron. Residents had “an extremely hard time” in the winter with the frozen creek, Nedved said, and heavy rains through the rest of the year would make the water too muddy to use or consume. Other residents had to add chlorine to their water for purification, and would purchase as much as 50 gallons of bottled water monthly for cooking and drinking.

Water from a former underground mine in Sunnyside that served as the supply for households was muddy and orange-tinted due to high levels of iron.

Nedved said they finished connecting both communities to the water in October 2017. More than 12,400 linear feet of PVC pipe was used in the implementation of both projects, and 25 new fire hydrants were added between the two.

Nedved described the department as “a godsend for this area. We couldn’t have done these projects without this funding.”  He added that, in just his tenure with the county government, he estimated that DHCD has assisted more than 3,000 people through similar CDBG-funded projects. Residents, Nedved said, are happy to have “better, more reliable water.”