ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A Maryland task force has backed off taking a more aggressive approach to curbing pollution from septic tanks in an effort to forge a consensus.

The panel appointed by Gov. Martin O’Malley favors a more general, four-tiered approach instead of suggesting that septic systems be limited to a specific number in some new developments.

O’Malley had hoped to pass legislation earlier this year to address septic system pollution, but the effort stalled amid opposition from Republicans. Democrats from rural parts of the state also objected and called for further study.

The panel will formally send its recommendations to O’Malley next month. The task force includes a variety of stakeholders, with some opposing more stringent recommendations. A few panel members voted against the final recommendations out of concern that the proposal will adversely affect rural areas by stunting development.

Delegate Maggie McIntosh, a Baltimore Democrat who chaired the panel, said she believes the O’Malley administration will iron out the details. Additional debate will take place in the next legislative session, which begins in January.

“Let’s just give the governor’s legislative staff some direction about where we want this to go,” McIntosh said. “Otherwise, we’ll be here until past Thanksgiving.”

The four-tiered approach provides a general framework based on different development goals.

For example, the first recommended tier covers areas where both local governments and the state have agreed they want sewer systems. The fourth tier where septic systems would be sharply restricted includes areas that state and local governments have largely agreed to set aside for preservation, like county agricultural zones and conservation areas.

The second and third tiers are more controversial.

The second tier includes parts of the state where local governments have plans for future growth. The panel decided against capping the number of septic systems that would be allowed in developments in these areas.

“We want to allow some flexibility if there is no access to a wastewater treatment plant,” McIntosh said.

The third tier includes land where there currently are no plans for growth or conservation. Some members of the panel argued that Maryland doesn’t even have land that fits into that category, but the panel decided to include the category for a gray area of semi-growth in rural areas.

Richard Hall, the secretary for the Maryland Department of Planning, said he thought the diverse task force made progress on a complex issue.

“I thought they did a pretty good job of not getting so much in the weeds that they accomplished nothing and, on the other hand, they didn’t make things so incredibly super general that there was little new added to the conversation,” Hall said.

Opponents, including Republican Sen. David Brinkley, of Frederick, criticized the plan as an encroachment on local development authority.

“I think it’s an attempt by the state to micromanage what’s going on at the local level,” Brinkley, who was on the panel and voted against the recommendations, said.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Comments (4)
  1. HA HA HA says:

    don’t worry gov we are not going to need any new construction because you are driving people from this state not attracting them

  2. j says:

    The FBI and DEA fabricate evidence, steal from suspects and use murder to close those bad cases.
    There is evidence that employees from DoD, CIA and DOJ accepted bribes from Al Quida.
    How is it that 12 of the 9/11 terrorists could live for 2 weeks just 2 miles from NSA head quarters in Maryland.This after several of them had taken flight simulator lessons on Jumbo jet trainers and several of them where on State department terror watch lists.
    There is evidence that employees from DoD, CIA and DOJ accepted bribes from Al Quida.
    If DoJ and DoD employees where more concerned with doing their jobs than enriching themselves by stealing from suspects and taking bribes, then there might have been more a chance that 9/11 had never happened.
    Worse might be the fact that elements within the U.S. Intellignece agencies with intent create their own terrorists by carefully choosing suspects and through many 10’s of years of psycological and physical abuse create their own terrorists. Why, to prop up defense spending.
    My dog was poisoned to death, a stolen car was run into the front of my house, gang members are harrassing me, I get death threats, BB guns are being shot at my car when I drive, my car is being tampered with, money and jewelry has been stolen out of my house, very long term sleep deprivation, etc….
    They have been harrassing me for 20 years.

  3. Roger says:

    like to know where they get the information. Can’t say that I can see where PUBLIC sewage systems are better, when in fact they dump more pollution in the water ways than any septic ever will,just another way for the state to get money

  4. Bill says:

    Maybe if we get rid of Congress and the Senate that would rid the area of alot of sh!!!!!!t?

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