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Signs Going Up After Md. Sewage Swimming

July 25, 2004

EDGEWATER, Md. (AP) _ Many large signs are expected to be put up by a creek in Edgewater after residents complained that they swam in it not knowing it was contaminated with raw sewage.

``We want to do better next time,″ public works spokesman Pam Jordan said. ``We did everything under our normal procedures, but we’re looking into how we can improve the process.″

The departments of health and public works plan to increase the number and size of posted signs.

On June 26, a pipe fitting broke on the force main at a pumping station within the Mayo water reclamation facility, allowing 99,000 gallons of sewage into Bear Neck Creek.

``I was out all weekend and I saw a lot of people swimming,″ said Henry Price, a member of the Holly Hill Harbor community association’s board of directors. ``They were jumping off their boats into the water.″

The county immediately notified the Maryland Department of the Environment and posted the news on its Web site and telephone hot line. Public works employees put up five signs throughout the neighborhood.

But, residents say, there was one small detail _ no one informed the people swimming.

``I would think there could be a phone call or someone knocking on the door of one of the community leaders,″ said Joe Boyle, a resident. ``If one person in the neighborhood would have known, they would have jumped on their boat and told everyone.″

Many people did not find out about the incident until the county informed The (Annapolis) Capital, which ran a brief story about it two days later.

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