"Safe To Drink"

"Water Supply Challenges" Part Five of Five: Well water in area has issues but tests confirm few dangerous contaminants

Faucet Running Water

Hard water is enough of an issue for area homes that receive their drinking water from wells that even the Poolesville town manager has a water softener installed at his home.

Water tests conducted by National Testing Laboratories for The Sentinel Newspapers showed the level of hardness at one sample site in Poolesville reached 210 milligrams per liter, 21 times the minimum detection level and twice the guideline set by the Water Quality Association and used by National Testing Laboratories.

Water hardness is not enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency like lead or other dangerous contaminants.

So while the water in Poolesville is still safe to drink, National Testing Laboratories director of business development Marianne Metzger said homeowners with hard water may want to consider treating it in order to prolong the life of their washing machines and sinks.

“It’s absolutely safe to drink. It’s totally an aesthetic issue,” said Metzger. “Knowing that you have hard water, you know it’s going to be harder on your appliances… It’s a choice that people have to make.”


Gaithersburg loses senior Councilman Henry Maraffa after long battle with leukemia

Henry MarraffaCouncilman Henry  Marraffa. COURTESY PHOTO  

GAITHERSBURG – The City Council lost its most senior elected official Tuesday morning when Henry F. Marraffa, Jr. died after a protracted battle with leukemia. He was 78.

“This is a tremendous loss for Gaithersburg. Henry served our community on the Board of Appeals, the Planning Commission, and for more than two decades as a member of the City Council, to which he was first elected in 1995,” said Mayor Jud Ashman. “He worked to build Gaithersburg’s reputation and prominence on a national level, representing our city on the Board of Directors of the National League of Cities, and at the state level with the Maryland Municipal League.”


Metro taken to task again for safety

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WASHINGTON – The day after crowds of Washington Nationals fans chanted “Metro sucks” when they heard the SafeTrack early closing time, management evacuated a Red Line train Friday because smoke was coming from one of the brakes.

Brakes aren’t the only thing that can smoke on Metro.

Metro ran trains on a single track around 6:30 a.m. Wednesday because the support, or insulator, of the power-source third rail arced.

According to Metro officials, arcing insulators cause smoke and sometimes sparks.

Metro spokesperson Morgan Dye said Metro offloaded the Friday Red Line train because there was a brake malfunction. Initially she said there was no smoke or fire. Later she confirmed the brake malfunction and absence of fire.


Bottled water may not be best bet



Whether it’s for a preferred taste, accessibility or comfort in its quality, bottled water sales have skyrocketed in the United States in the last few decades.

According to a study by Beverage Marketing Corporation, bottled water is expected to overtake soft drinks as America’s largest beverage category by 2017.

Yet while many consumers worry about chemicals and contaminants in their tap water, bottled water is not free from concern either.

The Sentinel Newspapers conducted an independent investigation, testing the quality of water tap water at private residences and public buildings as well as lakes, rivers and streams in Montgomery and Prince George’s County.


Rockville discusses traumatic brain injuries for youth athletes

ROCKVILLE – City Council members heard about the dangers of traumatic brain injury in youth sports from city staff Monday and quizzed Rockville Football League officials about what they’re doing to prevent those injuries.

The mayor and City Council did not provide any direction to staff or discuss whether to keep funding contact sports leagues but they did receive four recommendations from Andrew Lett, the city’s superintendent of Recreation about how to regulate the leagues.


Democrats outpace Republicans in new voter registrations in Montgomery

ROCKVILLE – With early voting beginning in one week, Montgomery County Democrats are out-registering Republicans by an eight-to-one margin, according to the County Board of Elections.

From Sept. 1 through 30, the number of registered Democrats in the county increased from 377,130 to 381,837, a total of 4,707 additional registered voters.

During the same time period, the Republicans increased their total from 121,492 to 122,075, an increase of 583 voters, less than the 1,002 people who joined the ranks of unaffiliated voters.

That came one month after the Republican voter roll dipped by 376 voters while Democrats increased their voter roll by 1,114 voters.


Local firefighters help Carolina survivors

MCFRS task force 3Members of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue task force provided assistance to Hurricane Matthew survivors in the Carolinas. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER  

Fifty-four members of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue task force helped out in North Carolina and South Carolina as Hurricane Matthew wreaked havoc throughout the area, flooding coastal areas throughout the southeastern United States.

Because much of the area had already been evacuated, the task force didn’t end up rescuing anyone.

Instead, workers drilled and “got comfortable with what they needed to do. We were there if we were needed, and we maximized our time,” said Monte Fitch, a battalion chief in Montgomery County who headed the recent rescue effort.


Voter registration deadline is October 18!

The Montgomery County Board of Elections is reminding voters that the deadline to register to vote in the Presidential General Election is Tuesday, October 18, at 9 p.m. To ensure that the information is correct, all voters are encouraged to check their voter registration at https://voterservices. OnlineVoterRegistration/ InstructionsStep1


"Disaster Waiting To Happen"

"Water Supply Challenges" Part Four of Five: Water infrastructure challenged by lack of spending and low utility rates

Faucet Running Water

More than 1,800 water mains throughout the Washington Suburban Sanitation Commission system are breaking annually, according to WSSC spokesperson Jerry Irvine.

Meanwhile, a six-month investigation by The Sentinel Newspapers revealed a number of containments in city water, well water and surface water at 50 sites throughout Montgomery County and Prince George’s counties.


Metro may close up to 20 stops - raise fares

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Metro staff is proposing that the agency take 20 stations out of service midday and on weekends, raise fares, cut 300 staff, and request more money from D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

Metro staff said in a report for the Board Finance Committee Metro will have to fill a budget gap of $275 million for fiscal year 2018. Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld is scheduled to present his proposed operating budget in November.

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