The city’s most recent offer came before the issues of abating the contaminated water came to the forefront, Harshman said.
After the water is filtered and decontaminated, it could be disposed of by dumping it into the nearby Antietam Creek or other waterways, but various permits would have to be obtained from the Maryland Department of Environment to do so, Williams said.
Harshman said MDE officials have told him they would be OK with the cleaned water being put back into Hagerstown’s sanitary sewer system.
However, the city’s ordinances would not allow that, he said, which might be another potential problem that could prove costly, especially if the water has to be trucked out for disposal elsewhere.
“Their ordinance says you can’t introduce water into their sewer system,” Williams explained. “And you just have to imagine the sanitary station is just like a cookpot up there. You can only have so much of this or so much of that or you upset the apple cart.
“The city feels, probably along with their engineers, to introduce this much water would not make it right on their end,” he said.
Spiker confirmed Wednesday that the water could not be pumped into the city’s sanitary sewer system based on the ordinance.
Reflecting on the past year, and even prior to that working with the previous mayor and city council, Williams said all of his interactions with the city have been positive, especially with Spiker, who has been the lead on the city’s end.
But a concentrated and concerted effort by all the players involved could put this issue to bed sooner than later, he said.
“It’s going to take a roundtable,” Williams said. “Maybe a couple meetings like that, even after the final numbers are in, to get it all ironed out. But it will get ironed out at that point.”
Spiker discussed the status of the project with the city council on Dec. 11, and is expected to return on Jan. 15 for another update on negotiations.
In his previous discussion with council, Spiker said if a suitable resolution cannot be reached with the owner, the city could seek legal action in the form of condemning the property and taking it by eminent domain.
Mayor David S. Gysberts said he hopes that negotiations with Harshman can be finalized by mid-January.
“It’s definitely a priority,” he said. “I hope (the owners) negotiate in good faith with the staff, so by Jan. 15 there is some kind of resolution to this where we have a direction to go in.”
Once all parties agree to contracts, Harshman said the project, which would result in a clean, backfilled property being turned back over to the city, would take about 14 months to complete.