Senator requests $13 million earmark for Hancock wastewater system

by Geoff Fox

Hancock’s wastewater collecting system is among a number of requests put forth by Senator Ben Cardin on June 12.

In a release on his senate website, Democrat Senator Cardin said he is requesting $13 million toward the collection system upgrade.

Hancock has been facing pressure from the Maryland Department of the Environment for a number of years to replace the town’s wastewater treatment facility.

And while that project is still on the horizon, the money Cardin has earmarked is only for the town’s waste water collection system.

Councilman David Kerns said Monday the town is responsible for 20% of the $13 million, or roughly $2.611 million.

“Will it help? Absolutely,” Kerns said about the money Cardin has requested.

The $13 million is the money that was promised to the town as funding toward the project, Kerns said.

“They needed to know we’ d be able to support the 20% cross share,” Kerns said.

That doesn’t mean the town would have to come up with that money, Kerns explained.

Funding for large infrastructure projects like the sewer system usually comes from multiple sources from grants to long-term loans.

In doing the town’s budget, Kerns said he found a loan the town is still paying from 1998.

“I don’ t want to scare the people, make them run out of town because we gotta come up with whatever it would be,” Kerns said.

When the town gets into the engineering stage, funding agencies are more likely to lend money to the town when they see a project is ready.

This could lead that $2 million being dwindled down to a lesser amount, Kerns said.

“W e don’ t really have a choice,” Kerns said. “We do what we gotta do. It’s a failing infrastructure.”

Kerns said the council should get an update on the status of the project next week.

In regards to the waste water treatment facility, Kerns said the town has been working with the engineer who has been helping them through funding agencies and MDE has told the town they’d be doing some as well.

The design stage is complete and the engineers and MDE has already started looking at the site where the wastewater facility would be constructed.

There are three pump station projects that are set to start in the coming weeks and there is a design project for the Pennsylvania A venue pump station that needs to be completely redone.