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In Brief

Thursday, August 5, 2004; Page B03


Storms Knock Out Power to Thousands

Gusting winds and thunderstorms toppled trees and power lines last night in suburban Maryland, resulting in power outages for thousands of homeowners.

More than 16,000 customers in Anne Arundel County, 2,500 in the Prince George's County areas of Capitol Heights and District Heights and 400 customers in Howard County lost power, authorities said.

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D.C., N.Va. Water to Be Treated for Lead

A chemical intended to prevent lead from leaching into drinking water will be added to the tap water supplies of a million customers in the District and Northern Virginia beginning Aug. 23, Environmental Protection Agency officials said yesterday.

The chemical, phosphoric acid, has been used on a trial basis since June 1 in a section of upper Northwest Washington, with the aim of reducing elevated lead levels in the drinking water of thousands of D.C. homes.

EPA officials said no problems have occurred during the trial period, but that it could take months for the chemical, widely used in water plants nationwide, to decrease the lead in tap water.

The chemical will be added at two Army Corps of Engineers treatment plants that serve water systems in the District, Arlington and Falls Church. Several public meetings will be scheduled for this month to answer residents' questions about the chemical treatment, EPA officials said.

Pedestrians Appeal on Redskins Road

Football fans angered by a rule that blocks pedestrian access along public roads to FedEx Field appealed the policy yesterday to the Prince George's County Board of Appeals, an attorney for the fans said.

The pedestrian policy was reauthorized in June by the county Department of Public Works and Transportation, which cited public safety concerns. The rule prevents pedestrians from walking on Redskins Road on the day of any event at FedEx Field.

The road was opened briefly during the past NFL season after a Circuit Court judge said the policy had been made without public notice. A public hearing was held in May to comply with the law before the policy was reinstated.

The attorney for the fans, J.P. Szymkowicz, has argued that the county must find the "least restrictive means" to protect pedestrians from being hit by cars, which he has said could be done by installing fencing or adding police rather than blocking public roads.

Szymkowicz said the appeal would not affect the policy prior to the Redskins' first home game of the preseason, Aug. 14 against the Carolina Panthers.


State Pension Fund Improves Ranking

The Maryland state pension fund continues to strengthen, ranking in the top half of comparable public retirement funds for fiscal 2004, according to a national survey.

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