Pr. George's to hold meeting to discuss water, sewer resources

By Ovetta Wiggins
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 13, 2010; 3:37 PM

The Prince George's County Planning Board is holding a meeting Thursday night to discuss how to manage the county's water and sewer resources over the next 20 years and to ensure that development does not adversely affect those needs.

The meeting, which will address wastewater, drinking water, septic and storm water at the watershed level, is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Prince George's Sports and Learning Complex in Landover.

Under state law, every county with zoning authority is required to devise a "Water Resources Element" as part of its general plan. Prince George's opted to compile a Water Resources Functional Master Plan that would essentially serve the same purpose.

"We've looked at land use and its impact on transportation and education, and now the state is essentially saying, 'Look at water,' " said John Funk, chief of the countywide water planning division. "It's a mandate from the state to address these needs."

Karen Buxbaum, project manager for the plan, said the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, which provides water and sewer services to 1.8 million people in Prince George's and Montgomery counties, has been "proactive in creating water allocations."

But one of the county's biggest concerns is supply for residents who live in the rural part of the county who are serviced by the commission and get their water from wells.

"That's the more indefinable issue," Buxbaum said.

Funk agreed, adding that the big obstacle is the lack of data, which are now being compiled.

The county's Water Resources Functional Master Plan will also be discussed at 7 p.m. Feb. 9 during a joint hearing of the Planning Board and the County Council. The public will be allowed testify during next month's hearing. Thursday's meeting is for informational purposes.

© 2010 The Washington Post Company