The Town of Oxford began a comprehensive review of the town’s Drinking Water System in 2017 following consultation with USDA- Rural Development, as the potential funder, to upgrade all necessary components of the Drinking Water System. The town’s engineers began review of the system and development of a preliminary engineering plan in 2018.
One of the components of the review was going to be the upgrade of the primary watermain that ran under Morris Street through the Historic District, as this was a long overdue necessity. MDE preliminarily approved a loan/grant with a 50/50 split to cover the construction cost of upgrading the watermain. With the difficulty of excavating this State owned road to lay new water lines, the possibility of lining the existing pipes in place was investigated and the town approached the Maryland Department of Engineering regarding this solution. Following extensive discussions with MDE, the project was placed out to bid and awarded in 2020. The work was completed over the winter of 2020 and finalized in the spring of 2021. The final project cost was $1,349,978 with an MDE Maryland Water Quality loan of $674,989 and the balance of $674,989 in MDE MWQ loan forgiveness.
The Morris Street project above was removed from the draft of the preliminary engineering which was provided to USDA for their review. USDA recommended the town investigate the possibility of a third well that would provided a water source that did not require arsenic removal as part of the preliminary engineering recommendations. The preliminary engineering report was finalized in 2022 and contained recommendations and cost estimates for Phase 1 of the upgrades to the water system as found in the table below.
USDA responded with a loan/grant package to complete the work, compromised of a RUS Loan of $2,572,000 and a RUS Grant of $2,102,000. Following a competitive bid process the Project Engineering was awarded to GMB and as of July 2023 this project has started. The initial efforts will involve the much needed upgrade to the town’s water metering equipment and billing software. Updates as the project moves forward will be provided here.