The Federal Emergency Management Agency has rejected Maryland Gov. Harry Hughes' request for disaster aid for Ocean City and Worcester County, which were hit by Hurricane Gloria in September.

Wayne McDaniel, a gubernatorial aide overseeing the disaster request, said yesterday that Hughes received a letter from Julius Becton, the emergency management agency director, denying the state's request for the disaster aid.

"Once they say no, that's pretty much the end of the line," McDaniel said, adding Hughes was considering how much to put into next year's state budget to cover costs of replenishing Ocean City's shoreline.

Becton advised Hughes in the letter that "the costs of damage . . . relate to long-term solutions of problems at Ocean City that existed prior to the storm."

"This conclusion should not be interpreted as a lack of understanding or compassion," Becton wrote. "It merely reflects the decision that a major disaster declaration is not warranted."

He was alluding to an earlier $20 million state plan to pump sand from the Atlantic Ocean floor to replenish Ocean City's beach.

Ocean City still is awaiting word from federal officials on $655,500 in disaster aid requested to cover damages by a Nov. 4 northeaster that swept an additional 115,000 cubic yards of sand from the shoreline, McDaniel said.