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HB318 - On-Site Wastewater Services - Regulation
House Environment and Transportation Committee
February 9, 2022

Position: Favorable

Dear Chairman Barve and Members of the Committee,

    Septic systems are complicated, vital systems that play a crucial role in the health and wellbeing of not only our waterways, but also people. As Maryland continues to grow, our understanding of soil types and processes expands, and our rain events intensify, it is important to have a septic industry that has the oversight and capacity to adapt to our changing landscape. For these reasons, Clean Water Action supports the creation of a licensing board for the industry.

    Many industries have similar commissions and boards to regulate the members of their industry, including:

  • Appraisers, Appraisal Management Companies, and Home Inspectors
  • Barbers
  • Cemeteries
  • Interior Designers
  • Elevator Safety Review
  • Foresters
  • Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration (HVACR) contractors
  • Home Improvement Contractors
  • Locksmiths
  • Electricians
  • Plumbers
  • Pawnbrokers

    Ultimately, a septic system has the sole responsibility for treating hazardous waste coming out of a home or place of business. It is essentially a decentralized wastewater treatment plant and needs to be designed, installed, and serviced properly for its specific conditions and flows. The patchwork, decentralized system Maryland currently employs is not sufficient to regulate this industry. Having a licensing and regulatory board enables a consistent floor of regulations for the industry and continuing education requirements. The legislation does not preempt local authorities from having localized requirements or licensing.

HB318 improves accountability to ensure proper design and workmanship in installation and maintenance and is a critical tool to safeguard against faulty designs and faulty installations that pollute our waterways and groundwater, and pose a public health risk.

We respectfully request a favorable report on HB318 to create a licensing board for the Onsite Wastewater Industry.

Thank you,

Emily Ranson, Clean Water Action

Elle Bassett, Shore Rivers

Erik Fisher, Chesapeake Bay Foundation

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