Community waterfront park at St. Clement’s Shores

Compton, MD — The St. Mary’s County Metropolitan Commission (MetCom) will soon embark on a $12.5 million project to replace the aging central water system in St. Clement’s Shores. Bidding for the first phase of the three-phase project will also begin soon and construction should expected to begin next spring. The second phase will occur in 2019 and the third phase in 2021 for the several hundred home waterfront community.

At an Oct., 4 public meeting a half dozen community residents — along with Del Matt Morgan (R – District 29A), Commissioner Mike Hewitt (R -District 2) and MetCom board member Steve Willing — listened to MetCom Chief Engineer Dave Elberti lay out details about the project. 

Elberti said MetCom decided to pursue the new water system after a devastating January and February of 2014 in which two dozed water line breaks had to be repaired to the system that was originally constructed in the 1950’s.

Residents said the system upgrade would give them better water pressure and reliable service in their homes. All of MetCom’s rate payers will pay for the project through the agency’s overall Capital Improvement Plan.

In addition, Willing said all rate payers would likely receive a slight increase in their water bills starting July 1, 2017. In recent years, MetCom customers have already had a string of rate hikes added to their bills. 

Elberti said the project’s first phase will involve 124 properties along Lady Baltimore Drive and homes on the left or south side. Homes on the right side of Lady Baltimore Drive will be done in Phase 2, and homes closer to the community entrance along Lady Baltimore Drive will be done in Phase 3.

Some homes in Phase 3 are currently on wells, and homeowners will have to pay a $8,800 hook-up fee to switch to the new water system. 

Albert assured residents residents will have access to the driveways of their homes at the end of each work day during the upgrade.

The only likely water shut-off will occur on the day homes switch over from the old system to the new one.

Service from the old system will be continued until the new system is completed on each street. The old lines run down then middle of the street and the new lines will be along the road right-of-way. Roads will be repaved at the end of the project.

The new project will also add 16 fire hydrants to the community. Currently, the community has no hydrants.

The owners of several vacant lots in Phase 1 have paid the equivalent dwelling units’ costs to maintain the right to develop them later. Homes on those lots will receive service through the new system.

MetCom has secured a low-interest loan from the Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) for the St. Clement’s Shores project, which will start after MDE signs off on the final plans.

Piney Point also has an aging water system and MetCom plans to talk about replacing it during the next agenda.

Meanwhile the next dilemma for St. Mary’s is how to improve access to the St. Clément’s Shores sewage treatment plant for homes with ailing septic systems. 

Contact Dick Myers at