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Votes

Don’t Cross the Streams

Boswell Lane gets sewer service, but where?

There may be a sewer line along Boswell Lane, but where has yet to be decided.

The County Council’s Transportation and Environment Committee approved a sewer category change for the Warner Property on Boswell as a result of a public health problem.

“We do have a failed septic system,” said Keith Levchenko of Council staff.

The property is in the Piney Branch Restricted Access Policy Area. Although the property is in an environmentally sensitve area where sewer access would not typically be allowed, council is making an exception because of the public health concerns involved in a failed septic system.

The issue, now that a sewer line has been approved, is where it will go, and how it will impact water quality in local streams.

Council staff identified three possible options. One which goes through the back of the property was rejected immediately because it goes through the most sensitive environmental areas.

The other options are to run a line west, along Boswell to a sewer line at Boswell’s intersection with Maplecrest Drive, or east, across the Piney Branch Stream to the Piney Branch Trunk sewer.

Both of these options have problems. The route to the west presents the least environmental damage. However, the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) has stated that they do not like this alignment because it would require a pump, while the other direction would allow a gravity system.

But avoiding crossing Piney Branch with the western alignment would be expensive. “There would probably be an intolerable deficit,” said Alan Soukup of the County’s Department of Environmental Protection.

When a sewer line is built, the resident served by the new line is required to pay a substantial amount of the cost. The western alignment is longer and will cost more.

The eastern alignment, however, would force the line to cross the stream.

Additionally, as proposed, the line would run along the northern side of Boswell Lane — which becomes Glen Mill Road before it hits the sewer trunk. The north side of the road has many large trees which would be endangered by a sewer line.

“We would ask that you run along the south side,” said Susanne Lee, of the West Montgomery County Citizen’s Association.

Committee Chair Nancy Floreen, (D-At Large), was more interested in the western alignment. “I think we want to avoid the Piney Branch Stream,” she said. “I really respect concerns about the Piney Branch.”

The other committee members, George Leventhal (D-At Large) and Tom Perez (D-5) did not feel they had enough information to recommend a specific alignment.

“I don’t feel comfortable saying, ‘you have to do it this way,’” Perez said.

The committee voted to approve service to the site, but did not recommend any alignment, leaving that decision to the full council on Nov. 18.ß