PIEDMONT - Terry Lively, executive director of Region Eight Planning and Development Council, was present at the latest Piedmont Council meeting to offer an explanation of what may be needed to keep a water source available for the community.

By  Jean Braithwaite
Tribune Correspondent
PIEDMONT - Terry Lively, executive director of Region Eight Planning and Development Council, was present at the latest Piedmont Council meeting to offer an explanation of what may be needed to keep a water source available for the community.
Lively first explained that an agenda item to happen later in the council meeting of a first reading for a water rate ordinance was a “going rate increase.”
The second reading and a public hearing on the water rate increase will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 8.
Resident John Amoroso said, “I am here for a lot of people who can’t afford to pay,” when the water increase take place.
He commented that he could do away with his television or telephone, but, “I can’t do away with my water; it is a necessity.”
Lively told those present about the future rate increase for water services, “If you don’t do it,” the town will go broke.
“If it costs more to produce water than bringing it in, it doesn’t matter,” he said.
Indicating that something needs to happen about Piedmont’s water supply, he said next October, “Water will be cut off from the paper mill.”
Related to this discussion, Lively asked those present to consider the condition of the present water plant, located on Piedmont hill.
“It needs work,” he said, and thousands of dollars of work may have to be put into the plant.
Lively than made a statement many of the citizens present at the council meeting may not have wanted to hear: “The surest way to get potable water is from a brand-new water plant in Westernport.”
He said that at the present there are 261 water customers in the community, and, “Piedmont will not grow any.”
Also saying that with not enough customers, Lively said, “It would be too expensive to run the water plant.”
Ernie Crouse, the town’s maintenance supervisor, said that the water plant was running at 60 percent.
Amoroso said, “The candle is burning, and we are running out of time,” referring to a water source for Piedmont.
He asked, “What would it take to get the Savage water line back in operation?”
Amoroso and others of the community have been advocates of getting the water line from Savage River to Piedmont back in operation to be the water source for Piedmont.
Lively said that citizens could not drink river water, that the water from the Savage River would have to be treated, making it necessary to have a water plant, and the plant in Piedmont needs work.
Amoroso wanted to know if a grant could be obtained to update the water plant, while Lively said that the update would take a 100 percent grant, and, “Those grants just don’t come along,” adding that in his 30 years of experience, he knows of only two 100 percent grants that have been issued.
Lively said that in obtaining water from Westernport there could be a permanent hook-up, and a contract with Westernport would be necessary.
He said that other communities are in the same situation as Piedmont, giving an example of the Mineral County community of Ridgeley, who purchases water and sewerage services from Cumberland, Maryland.