Shelter Gets $4,000 Grant

The Humane Society of Charles County received a $4,000 grant from the nonprofit Snyder Foundation in Baltimore, which promotes the humane treatment of animals through education and philanthropic support.

The grant will help subsidize the Charles organization's spay-and-neuter program.

"The Snyder Foundation grant will enable us to continue our efforts to sterilize all companion animals prior to adoption from our shelter," shelter manager Jean Stuller said in a statement announcing the grant. The grant also will help the shelter promote its low-cost sterilization program, she said.

Participating veterinary groups included in the local program are the Animal Clinic of La Plata, Charles County Veterinary Hospital and the Waldorf Animal Clinic.

Leak at Wastewater Plant

About 1,400 gallons of sodium hypochlorite leaked recently from a storage tank at the Mattawoman Wastewater Treatment Facility on Hawthorne Road near Mason Springs.

The leak was contained within the building where the chemical was stored. No employees or emergency responders were injured, the Charles County Department of Emergency Services said after the incident, which occurred June 23.

Monitors alerted treatment plant personnel to the leak, which was handled by the Potomac Heights, Bryans Road, Indian Head and La Plata volunteer fire departments, the Indian Head Naval Surface Warfare Center hazardous materials response team and the Charles County tactical response team.

The leak occurred around a pipe fitting in a 5,000-gallon tank in a storage building, Jerry Michael, director of the Utilities Department, said in a statement.

Sodium hypochlorite is a bleaching agent used at the Mattawoman plant to treat and purify wastewater effluent before it is discharged into the Potomac River, Michael said. When not controlled, the chemical can decompose into chlorine, which irritates the eyes, nose, skin and throat and is harmful if swallowed.