THE REGION

D.C. Plants Top List for Chlorine Storage

The three wastewater treatment plants in the District store the Washington area's largest amounts of chlorine, according to a survey released yesterday.

The survey by the U.S. Public Interest Group said that Blue Plains (180,000 pounds), Dalecarlia (130,000 pounds) and McMillan (110,000 pounds) were tops in the area in the amount of dangerous chlorine stored, based on information the operators provided to the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

The survey was released on the 15th anniversary of a chemical disaster in Bhopal, India, that killed about 2,000 people.

"We are calling attention to the hazards these facilities pose at the local level," said Jeremiah Baumann, a spokesman for the group. "It's outrageous that 15 years after Bhopal, so many facilities in Maryland, Virginia and D.C. continue to store Bhopal-scale amounts of extremely hazardous substances."

In Maryland, half of the 25 facilities with the largest amounts of dangerous chemicals are in the Baltimore area. Topping the list is Millennium Inorganic Chemicals Inc. in Baltimore, with 1.8 million pounds of chlorine.

Leading the list of Washington area operators storing dangerous chemicals is the Naval Surface Warfare Center at Indian Head, which listed 418,535 pounds of oleum, a sulfuric acid. In Virginia, Allied Signal's Hopewell plant, which stores a maximum of 40 million pounds of ammonia, ranked first among the top 25 facilities. None is in the Washington area.

MARYLAND

Gas Station Liquor Sales Measure Stymied

A proposal to prohibit gasoline stations from obtaining liquor licenses in Howard County has been killed for the second time, failing to win enough backing to be introduced as legislation by the county's delegation to the General Assembly.

State Del. Shane Pendergrass (D-Howard) tried to get the measure introduced last year, but it didn't get past the delegation. This year, she hoped supportive testimony from the county police chief and Mothers Against Drunk Driving would move it forward. In a work session Wednesday night, some delegation members said the proposal was unnecessary because the county liquor board could reject applications from gas station owners if they saw fit.

House members voted 5 to 3 against it, Senate members, 2 to 1.

Legislator Plans Pr. George's College Fair

U.S. Rep. Albert R. Wynn (D-Md.) is holding his annual college fair this weekend at Prince George's Community College in Upper Marlboro.

Higher education officials from about 85 colleges, universities and other institutions will be available to answer questions. The fair is Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m and is free.

VIRGINIA

Arlington Gets Critique on Gifted Students

An independent evaluation of services for gifted students requested by Arlington schools has concluded that the county is inconsistent in dealing with precocious children.

According to a copy of the report by two University of Virginia evaluators presented to the School Board, some principals resist accelerating students and provide little enrichment for those who desire it despite county policy in favor of such programs. The report calls for better training and stronger leadership to bring gifted student programs to all schools.

Agency Approves Funds for Storm Repairs

The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved $15.1 million in low-interest, long-term loans to Virginians who sustained losses from Hurricane Floyd in September.

Loans approved to homeowners and renters to fix residences and replace lost or damaged property total more than $9.1 million, SBA officials said. Loans approved to businesses to repair damage or replenish working capital total nearly $6 million.

THE DISTRICT

Two-Way Traffic Approved for E Street

Traffic on E Street between 15th and 17th streets NW that has been one-way eastbound since Pennsylvania Avenue was closed in front of the White House will become two-way next year, the National Capital Planning Commission decided yesterday.

The commission also voted to support a proposal by Georgetown University to expand the campus entrance on Canal Road NW. The move passed on an 11 to 1 vote, according to commission public affairs officer Denise Liebowitz.

The commission voted to require the university to incorporate a number of staff recommendations--such as a right-turn-only lane leading to the enlarged entrance and new traffic signals to regulate left-turning traffic--as part of the construction plan.

D.C. Library Waiving Late Fees

Fines for overdue D.C. public library books and other materials will be waived under an amnesty period in effect until Jan. 15.

The amnesty is intended to help the library convert to a new circulation system, thank users for their patience during the conversion and retrieve overdue material, officials said.

Books and other overdue materials can be brought to any library. Books may be left in book drops when the libraries are closed, but CD-ROMs must be brought to the library return desks.

Water Authority Delays Rate Increase

Vote The D.C. Water and Sewer Authority, which had been scheduled to vote on a proposed multi-year rate increase yesterday, has postponed that vote until next month.

The postponement, officials said, will allow them to consider opinions voiced Wednesday at a D.C. Council public hearing on the proposed increase.

The proposal would raise rates by a total of more than 18 percent over four years, beginning with a 5.1 percent increase in April. The authority also is considering a proposed "lifeline" rate for low-income residents, a new fire-protection charge to the city, and creation of a fund to help nonprofit groups pay their water bills.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

"This is the reward for having been inconvenienced. The people here in central Prince George's have been led down so many blind alleys that it's almost like they are numb. They have not just been misadvised but also lied to."

-- Jessie Reeves, president of the Hillcrest Heights Civic Association, on delays in completion of a sports and recreation complex that was part of the deal that brought the Redskins stadium to the county.