It occurs to me that little has been said recently about the dry well situation in Somerset and Wicomico Counties. There was a huge uproar a few weeks ago and much blame was placed on ECI and a local sod farm. While these two entities may be partially to blame I believe much more blame should be laid squarely in the laps of developers. I am not convinced that ECI and the sod farm together uses as much water and taxes the aquifers any more than the hundreds and hundreds of new homes needing wells.
I recently heard from a source I trust that the sod farm is within the law concerning their wells. My source claims to have seen the paperwork to substantiate such. It seems the paperwork is not available (lost) in the offices where the public has access to those records. If I can find out more on this I will certainly expound on it.
It is my understanding that ECI has been ordered to reduce water consumption by a huge percentage. Hopefully they can meet the goals set forth without endangering the population in the facility. Using less water may mean less cleaning and fewer or shorter showers for the inmates. The results could possibly lead to a breeding ground of bacteria and the propagation of disease. This will only increase the over all cost of medical care for the inmates and endanger the officers and staff of the facility. Regardless of the reasons for an inmate to be incarcerated, there are some basic human rights that must be afforded to everyone. Being able to clean their environment and have showers is included.
With that in mind I would like to toss out and idea for the water problem at ECI. The U.S. Navy next year will launch the last of the Nimitz class aircraft carriers. The U.S.S. George W. Bush (CVN 77) will have a compliment of 6000 personnel. Desalination and distillation plants on board this craft will be able to supply 400,000 gals of fresh water daily to the ship. On average this is enough water to supply 2000 homes.
ECI is not that far from the Manokin River. Why is it not possible for the State to build such a plant and pipe fresh water to the storage tank already located on the property? Of course there is the initial outlay for the plant and the continued maintenance of the system, but much of those maintenance costs are incurred now with the present system. Besides, I can think of a lot more money the State has wasted on less important issues. This too would take some of the strain off of the aquifer.
(The above information about the U.S.S George W. Bush came from the Northop Gruman website)