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Article Archive >> In Your County

From the County Commissioners: Rest of the Story

From the County Commissioners
Rest of the Story
by Norman Bassett
Washington County Public Information Officer

A good example of how County employees go out of their way to serve Washington County citizens came to light recently.
In the regular meeting of the Board of County Commissioners on October 4, Commissioners' President Snook presented Certificates of Merit to 5 employees of the Department of Water Quality, for actions above and beyond the call of normal duty.
Recently a canoeist on Antietam Creek complained to the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) about a large abandoned oil tank in the creek near Keedysville, which posed a possible environmental threat, and impacted the natural beauty of the waterway.
MDE contacted the County's Department of Water Quality requesting assistance, and a crew of four maintenance shop employees led by supervisor Denny Engle took a look at the problem and volunteered to extract the tank from the water.
According to Engle the 3,000 gallon tank was filled with silt and virtually immovable. In addition, problems with terrain made getting heavy equipment into the site difficult. The crew cut holes in the tank, pumped sludge out, refloated it, guided it to a more accessible area and removed it from the creek using a front-end loader.
Mike Marker, Shane French, Bill Blair, Danny Hovermale and Denny Engle were honored by the Commissioners and received praise from MDE. A letter from Dr. Robert Summers, Director of the MDE Water Management Administration thanked the employees and supervisor Engle, stating, "Your assistance in providing a sludge pump and your help in floating the tank was invaluable. Removal of the tank eliminates an eyesore, and the potential for damages to downstream structures. We continue to improve water quality for all Marylanders, as you do, and appreciate your help in this endeavor."
The Commissioners' certificates cited the volunteerism of the four in eliminating a potential environmental hazard. The Board said that efforts like this contribute to the water quality in the County and to the aesthetics of the creek area.
Engle said the tank was probably from one of the farms that lay alongside the Antietam, and likely ended up in the creek after a flood.
He said the manufacturer of the tank was contacted, but the firm has been sold and records of sales were not available, so the owner of the tank will probably never be known.


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