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Md. Senate Passes Bill To Limit Septic Systems

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — After days of delay and maneuvers that frustrated opponents and supporters alike, Maryland senators have approved a bill to regulate where new residential septic systems can be installed.

The legislation, passed by a 32-14 vote Tuesday afternoon, creates a four-tiered system that counties are expected to use to limit where residential septic systems can be located, especially in the most rural parts of the state.

The bill, which sat before the Senate for a week, is a priority of Gov. Martin O’Malley and has gone through several incarnations since the Democrat championed the issue last year as a way to reduce Chesapeake Bay pollution.

Opponents said the environmental advantages of the bill are minimal and the legislation hurts property values while financially handicapping farmers who may have counted on subdividing their land for income.

Sen. Barry Glassman pointed to steps farmers in Maryland have already taken to manage nutrient runoff and said the bill would unfairly lessen their property values by as much as 30 or 40 percent.

“I think it’s a pretty sad day when we do this and at the same time, out the other side of our mouth, we say we need to save
agricultural land,” Glassman, R-Harford, said. “We want to save the land, but we don’t want to save the farmer.”

Some lawmakers say the bill was significantly weakened last week when senators amended it, taking away any ability of the state to overturn county development plans.

Under the amended bill if the state department of planning disagrees with the way a county has designed its tiers, the county will be required to take public input, but not mandated to make state suggested changes.

The amended method for developing the tiers, crafted by the O’Malley administration and presented by Sen. Thomas Middleton, D-Charles, mirror a late 1990s smart growth initiative in which counties are asked to meet development requirements to access state funds.

Joseph Bryce, O’Malley’s chief legislative council, said discretionary state funding and programs are incentive for counties to fall in line with the plan.

“You’re going to have some jurisdictions that are more inclined to work with you than others, but frankly our experience hasn’t been outright revolt,” Bryce said last week.

The bill now moves to the House of Delegates. Sen. President Thomas V. Mike Miller said he expects the lower chamber will sign off on the measure.

Miller called it a “compromise bill” that left senators on both sides of the issue unsatisfied.

He disputed assertions from Republican leaders that bill sponsors want to curb local development and are perpetuating a
series of political and land use moves they refer to as a “war on rural Maryland.”

“It’s a war on people who don’t support smart growth. It was a war on people who want properties developed without roads, without schools without fire departments without police stations,” Miller said. “It’s a vote for planned development at the same time taking into consideration the needs and concerns the property owners.”

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Comments

One Comment

  1. LegalBeagle says:

    Another attempt by Annapolis to dictate to the counties.

  2. JackDaniels says:

    IDIOT OWE-MALLEY THINKS THIS WILL CLEAN UP THE BAY……………AND, WHILE HE PUSHES TO GET THIS LAW PASSED HE’S ALLOWING THE DEVELOPERS TO BUILD NEW SHOPPING CENTERS, OFFICE BUILDINGS, ROADS, ETC, ETC, ETC………………ALL THIS DEVELOPMENT IS DOING MORE DAMAGE TO THE BAY THAN ALL THE SEPTIC AND FARM FERTILIZER RUN-OFF WILL EVER DO, BUT HE’S TOO STUPID TO KNOW THAT!!!!!!

  3. For septic system maintenance use the all-natural MillerPlante*net Advanced Formula Septic-Helper 2000 and Enza Drain Line Cleaner. It has the 8 natural bacteria and enzymes that digest the waste in the tank AND out in the drain field. To reduce your Phosphate and Nitrate levels to Zero coming from your Laundry, use their new All-Natural Enza Wash-Balls. According to the EPA, Chemicals used in the home are the #1 problem polluting water supplies and water wells.

    In 2011, the EPA (TMDL), Mandates that States clean up their water supplies. It mandates new inspections on all septic systems, water wells and with funding, local waterways. A failed inspection would include a slow drain in your leach field, low septic tank bacteria levels or elevated Nitrate levels in your Water Well or local Water Supplies; could require replacement of your entire system for $10K to $80K+ or connect to the city sewer system for $5K to $40K. The EPA admits that the new inspections are failing 12% of systems each year and 82% of those older than 1977.

  4. Agenda 21 says:

    This legislation is sold to the public as “Save the bay” when in fact it is an attack on property rights, more of this type of property right infringement is on the way. Learn everything you can on Agenda 21, it is a direct legislative attack on freedoms design and its tenticles reach every corner of our nation. Agenda 21 , look it up and decide for yourself if its “Masterplan” is for our benefit or not.

  5. meeeeeeeeeeeeee says:

    So will this law stop wastewater treatment facilities stop dumping millions of millions of gallons of raw sewage directly into the bay? So now people will have to pay an exorbitant amount of money to be part of the city waste system just for it to be dumped into the bay rather than soaked and utilized on land… Our government is smoking reddi rock I think. No idiot on earth can be that stupid except for a government official.

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