Panel hears testimony on septic system regulations

Written by
Brian Witte
Associated Press

ANNAPOLIS — Regulations requiring new Maryland construction to use the best technology in septic systems would help clean up the Chesapeake Bay, supporters told lawmakers Tuesday, but critics said the proposal by Gov. Martin O’Malley’s administration is a back-door effort to implement a plan already rejected by the Legislature.

Robert Summers, secretary of the Maryland Department of the Environment, told members of the Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review that the regulations are part of an effort to reduce nitrogen released into the polluted bay by 11.6 million pounds by 2026. Summers said the septics law, combined with the regulation, will equal a reduction in nitrogen produced by about 31,000 households.

“So each year, this will reduce the equivalent of the discharge of nitrogen from the city of Cambridge,” Summers told the panel.

He noted the western half of Garrett County in western Maryland and a part of Cecil County will be exempt from the regulations.

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