Police shut down Bartonsville Well

Stephens City police shut down operation of a Frederick County Sanitation Authority production well on Friday.

According to a news release announcing the action, the sanitation authority has been illegally drawing an average of more than 360,000 gallons of water per day from what is known as the Bartonsville Well. Although the well lies just outside town limits, it is still within the Town’s Public Water Supply Protection District.

Stephens City police also posted a notice of violation, trespass and order to cease and desist on a fence surrounding the well, and a copy was sent to the sanitation authority. The notice warns that anyone who re-engages the well will face prosecution for a class 1 misdemeanor and/or a class 4 felony.

The well was brought to the town’s attention in a January letter from sanitation authority Director Uwe Weindel. The letter also alerted the town to a 360,000-gallon-per day excess. Councilman Jason Nauman demanded the decommission of the Bartonsville Well in a February letter written to sanitation authority leaders.

When the town addressed the illegal well in May by submitting a Freedom of Information Act request to the sanitation authority, the authority did not provide any information concerning the operation of the well and claimed to not know who drilled it.

Because the sanitation authority has continued to draw that water after the termination of the 20-year contract between the authority and the town, Nauman wrote a letter to Weindel on July 30 noting that more than $275,000 is owed to the town. Town Manager Michael Majher said that the town is now waiting for a response to that letter from the sanitation authority.