Frederick County Adjusts Septic System Review Process For New BAT Regulations

A Frederick News-Post article (2016-12-07) described how Frederick County will adjust its septic system review process regarding the use of best available nitrogen reduction technology (BAT). The County changes are in response to pending regulations from the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Governor Larry Hogan Administration that repeal a mandate to use BAT septic systems outside of a Chesapeake or Atlantic Coastal Bay critical area (within 1,000 feet of tidal water or a tributary). The new regulations allow a county to require BAT septics where needed to address environmental concerns and does not change the longstanding authority of counties to require BAT septic systems on a case-by-case basis to address public health concerns, such as wellhead protection. The regulations do not affect a statutory requirement to use BAT systems within a critical area. From the article:

The addition of best available technology to a septic system can cost several thousand dollars. The state approves the specific technologies, but the Frederick County Health Department also considers cost and variations on the technology that can be used by homebuilders and commercial developers seeking a septic system permit.

 Barry Glotfelty, director of Frederick County Environmental Health Services, said the agency will review all new and resubmitted recent permits on a case-by-case basis.

Soil type and lot size will determine if nitrogen-capturing technology is still needed to protect groundwater, Glotfelty said. …

Permits in wellhead protection areas, which protect public sources of drinking water, will also be assessed on a case-by-case basis, Glotfelty said.

Some development on the edge of the wellhead protection areas may be able to have septic systems without best available technology, Glotfelty said. The septic systems cannot pollute adjacent lots or groundwater.