Proposed Septic System Regulations Draw Fire in Maryland

Jul 11, 2012

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A Maryland legislative panel is weighing regulations proposed by Gov. Martin O'Malley's administration to require the use of the best available technology in septic systems to remove nitrogen in new construction in most of the state.

Two Sides Clash

Secretary of the Maryland Department of the Environment Robert Summers told the Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review that combined with regulations there would be a dramatic cut in the nitrogen produced by around 31-thousand households.

But the Salisbury Daily Times reports Republican critics say that the requirement will add $8-thousand onto the price tag of a new home.

Lawmakers turned down a statewide requirement three years ago and it was not considered in the septic legislation this year.

State Senator E. J. Pipkin a Republican from Cecil said state regulators should have come to the House and Senate to get its approval.

But Secretary Summers said the department was only acting on the basis of recommendations made by a state taskforce. 

The western Garrett County in western Maryland and part of Cecil will be exempt from the regulations.

What next? 

The Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review can vote on the regulations as soon as next week. Then, there will be a public comment period until Aug. 15.

If the panel approves, the Maryland Department of the Environment, which is proposing the regulations, has the final say on when to implement the regulations with any changes.