Cecil Residents Concerned Over Mandatory Water & Sewer Connections

Cecil Guardian article (2017-11-16) reported that some Cecil residents expressed concern at a November 14 public hearing over mandatory hookups to the County’s public water and sewer system. The County is looking at expanding its sewer within the county’s growth corridor and has proposed connection rules based on “economic growth considerations” instead of just public health issues. Subject to certain narrow exceptions, Maryland law requires properties next to water and sewer lines to connect. The article noted that the Cecil County Director of Public Works Scott Flanigan oversaw the public hearing. Flanigan was joined by the county Director of Administration Al Wein and Health Department Director of Environmental Services Fred von Staden. From the article:

If the area has public health concerns about septic tank failures, connections to public utilities would be have to be made by homeowners quickly. But in the case of economic development pipelines, people could possibly take 20 years or more to connect. For those who have to connect and are short on finances, the county is working out a finance plan for the major facilities fee of $6,000. This fee is the cost to connect into county sewer lines. It does not cover the actual work which could approach $20,000 for running lines into the house and breaking up the existing septic tank and filling the void with stone. …

People wanted to know why the county would charge any interest where connections were forced. They also believed that fixed rate loans should be made available for homeowners as well as business people planning apartment complexes.

There were questions about a list of triggering events that would force the connection to public sewers. This includes major additions to a house, sale of the house and failure of the septic systems. While the county administration officials appeared to say that minor repairs of septic systems, such as a cracked lid, would be okay, von Staden said the health department could not permit any work on a septic system if it is on a property under the state mandate to connect to public sewage.

The article noted that the current proposed sewer expansion would affect less than 50 homeowners but that other residents who could be affected by future expansions also attended the hearing.