Emmitsburg Residents Frustrated with Unresolved Brown Water

Complaints about the water started in October

Emmitsburg, MD – The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners heard  complaints Monday evening as several residents voiced their frustration with the town’s brown water issue.

The town’s brown water was initially reported in October 2019 and has since been an ongoing issue the town’s staff has attempted to resolve.

Town Commissioner T.J. Burns gave a timeline of the issue and said hydrants were flushed multiple times between November and December, but complaints about brown water started up again within weeks.

“We are currently investigating possible development issues in areas where the problems persist such as a Southgate and Brookfield,” Burns said. “The mayor has also reached out to the county executive’s office for assistance.”

Burns said Town Officials are currently investigating work near water lines the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had conducted on without the town’s permission.

Emmitsburg resident James Dodson gave comment at the meeting, voicing his frustration with the $3 compensation he received on his water bill when his water was brown.

“Thank you, but this is a slap in my face,” Dodson said. “… The compensation of $3 for the use is ridiculous, and no one should have to pay for the brown water the town is supplying to its residents.”

Burns said the issue doesn’t seem to be coming from the waste water treatment plan and water seems to turn brown further along the water lines.

“We obviously know through all of our testing with the EPA and the MDE that the water leaving the waste water treatment plant is clean,” Burns said. “The question is, why does the water continue to be brown?

Burns said further work has been scheduled to inspect Emmitsburg water lines for possible leaks and that  water taxes and bills would likely go up if the town needed the funds to fix any further infrastructure issues with the water lines.

Commissioners Joe Ritz and Frank Davis suggested an emergency meeting in the near future to provide residents with further updates on the ongoing issue.

By Timothy Young