PRINCESS ANNE — Just because Somerset County can’t find an abundant supply of quality drinking water in underground aquifers to supply the town, it doesn’t mean a source doesn’t exist, said representatives from a Dover water utility who have sought informal permission from Princess Anne officials to dig.

Principals at Tidewater Utilities Inc. recently met with officials in Princess Anne. Discussions focused on a potential partnership to identify and fund a clean water supply that would jump-start town construction that’s been stalled at least a year. The Patapsco aquifer has recorded an abundance of fluoride, or a mineral concentration above the state allowable 2 milligrams per liter.

The special meeting was on the heels of a Monday session on the so-called “water issue” in Annapolis attended by officials from Somerset and the Maryland Department of the Environment, as well as Delegate Page Elmore, R-38A-Wicomico. Progress at that meeting, Elmore has said, included MDE approval to allow up to 10,000 daily gallons of water to be pumped from two wells in the fluoride-abundant Patapsco aquifer on a temporary basis — a provision that would allow the Somerset Sanitary District time to rehabilitate older wells and drill two new ones.

Princess Anne Town Manager Jay Parker, who attended the Annapolis meeting, said despite MDE cooperation, “it was not a total agreement between Somerset County and MDE” and that the town wanted to move forward to educate town leaders regarding alternative and long-range solutions that also would give the town control of its own water supply system. “We’re concerned about future developments in town,” he said.

Work outlined in Annapolis would be completed by next January, freeing up to 734 equivalent dwelling units, needed by developers to move construction forward. Parker on Tuesday called a gain of 734 EDUs “great,” but said the town needs more.