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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How do I arrange for a percolation test?

A. First, a perc application must be filled out and submitted to the Department of Permits, Approvals and Inspections (PAI) along with a $75 fee for each lot and four copies of a map (scaled 1:60 or less) of the property showing property lines, topography and nearby streams (see checklist). Once the application has been reviewed and approved by Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability (EPS), the property owner needs to hire the services of a backhoe operator who will then schedule an appointment to perform the tests with a EPS sanitarian.

Q. What are the setback requirements for wells and septic systems on newly developed properties?

A. Wells must be 10 feet from a property line; 15 feet from a road or dedicated right of way; 30 feet from any building foundation; and 100 feet from sewage disposal areas, wells on adjacent lots or other sources of contamination. The septic reserve area must be 10,000 square feet and located at least 20 feet from any building foundation, and 10 feet from property lines.

Q. For the purpose of property transfer, how long are well yield tests and water quality tests valid?

A. Well yield tests are valid for three years; water quality tests are valid for 180 days.

Q.  What is the process for getting my buried heating oil tank removed?

 A. Removal of any underground fuel storage tank in Baltimore County must be performed by a certified storage tank removal contractor (PDF). For residential tanks, the contractor must apply for a building permit and schedule an inspection with EPS at least three days prior to removing the tank.  The EPS inspector will evaluate the condition of the tank and determine if any remedial measures must be taken. If significant contamination has resulted from the tank, the case will be referred to Maryland Department of the Environment. For additional information regarding tank removals, view regulations and policies.

Q. My house is served by a private water well. How do I get my water tested?

A. Prior to putting any new well into service, EPS will perform mandated testing required by state regulations (i.e., the water will be analyzed for bacteria, nitrates, turbidity and sand). Once the well has been issued its Certificate of Potability, the responsibility of maintaining and testing private water supplies is up to the property owner. The EPS staff is available to help you troubleshoot any water quality concerns that you may have by calling 410-887-2762. A list of private laboratories who can assist you with water testing can be found in our list of Certified Water Testing Labs (PDF).

Revised September 6, 2019         


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