Emmitsburg residents who need to install plumbing to prevent water supply contamination now have a way to find people to do the work. 

The Emmitsburg Board of Commissioners approved suggested contractors for these piping systems, known as backflow preventers, at its meeting this week.

The devices are required via a state mandate from the Maryland Department of the Environment, and protect drinkable water from contamination or pollution due to backflow.

Town Manager Cathy Willets said town staff contacted several plumbers.

The cost to install a low-hazard backflow preventer would be $162 per home if completed in the next year by Kelco Plumbing and Backhoe Services, of Sabillasville.

High-hazard testable backflow preventers, found in or at commercial buildings, differ in cost depending on the size of the water supply. For a three-quarter-inch pipe, Tri-County Plumbing and Heating would charge $525, according to staff reports.

The vote was not an endorsement of the above businesses because residents are not required to use those plumbers, Willets said. She said town staff wanted to lock in prices, and that residents should do their own research when looking into overall pricing.

Commissioner Elizabeth Buckman said having the prices up front is helpful to prevent plumbers from charging more than is typical.

"As a single woman, I have contractors come in all the time, and they gouge me," Buckman said. "This gives me more confidence."

She and Mayor Don Briggs said that although the devices may be a cost burden to some residents, it's a state mandate.

Steve Bohnel is the county government reporter for the Frederick News-Post. He can be reached at sbohnel@newspost.com. He graduated from Temple University, with a journalism degree in May 2017, and is a die-hard Everton F.C. fan.

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