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by Terri Hogan
Senior Staff Writer
Conrad Hocking received the Greater Olney Civic Association’s Special President’s Award for ensuring the environment regained its health after a significant sewage spill in Olney in 2015.
He was cited “for his outstanding leadership and long-term advocacy, coordination and planning in addressing the cleanup and repair required in the aftermath of three breaks in sewer mains that occurred in the summer of 2015,” GOCA President Greg Intoccia said.
Unlike the other awards presented by GOCA, the Special President’s Award was not announced prior to the awards ceremony on March 19 at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School.
Hocking said he was honored by the award.
“It is very gratifying,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting anything like this. I didn’t expect the recognition, I just did it to help my community out.”
Hocking has lived in Arden Woods, part of the Lake Hallowell Homeowners Association, since 1991 and has served on a couple of committees.
Although he has no environmental background, Hocking said he is good at “marshalling all the facts — determining what happened and what we are going to do about it.”
The 20-inch pressurized sewer pipe had three breaks in July and August 2015, spilling 1.2 million gallons of raw sewage into Lake Hallowell and its tributaries.
The three breaks were quickly repaired, but Hocking pressed to get to the cause of the breaks before others occurred.
He worked with GOCA to draft a resolution, which the organization passed in October 2015 and sent to WSSC, county officials and elected officials. The document requested that the pipe be fixed, the landscaping be repaired, the county’s Department of Environmental Protection continue to monitor the water quality and that the lake be dredged.
Hocking said WSSC conducted a video inspection and engineering study and concluded the pipe was worn out in several places along a 2,000-foot section. They determined that entire section needed to be replaced.
That process concluded in the fall of 2016.
“Since then, the site has been undergoing restoration, which is not yet complete,” Hocking said.
His efforts continue, as he urges the county to expedite the dredging.
“The lake itself was already somewhat troubled prior to the sewage spill, but it made it somewhat worse,” Hocking said. “The county has not been clear as to when the dredging will occur.”
Terri Hogan can be reached
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