Due to recent regulatory changes and instruction from MDE, Baltimore County will be changing its practices for issuance of building permits for properties served by onsite sewage disposal systems (OSDS) and plumbing permits for installing OSDS.
Beginning July 1, the County will no longer be providing OSDS designs, but will provide minimum design criteria. Permit applications to install a new OSDS or repair an existing OSDS must be submitted by a licensed OSDS installer and include a design by a licensed OSDS designer, as well as a site plan showing the proposed OSDS layout.Watch the Workshop Videos to Learn More
The Ground Water Management (GWM) Section is responsible for managing and protecting the ground water resources of Baltimore County. GWM handles issues related to drinking water wells, on-site sewage disposal (septic) systems, removal of residential underground storage tanks, and disposal of solid and hazardous wastes.
Complete this form to request records regarding private drinking water wells, septic systems, underground storage tank removals and ground water contamination cases for individual properties. We typically complete requests within two business days.
Complete this form to file a complaint regarding a failing septic system, or to request the following services:
- Consultations (septic area revisions, building additions, tear downs or rebuilds, pools, etc.)
- Percolation test for repair or developed lot
- Renew percolation test results
- Reverse osmosis discharge evaluation
- Septic evaluation for food permit or change of use
Regulations and Policy
The Ground Water Management Section (GWM) is generally responsible for enforcing the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) 26.04. Any person aggrieved by a final decision by GWM pertaining to these regulations may appeal the decision in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act.
Specific County laws, regulations and policies related to these responsibilities include Section 1.03 of the Code of Baltimore County Regulations (COBAR) as well as the GWM policy manual.
The Ground Water Management Policy Manual contains the policies of the GWM Section that was most recently updated in October 2022. These policies are used in conjunction with applicable state and County laws and regulations. Some of the appendices referred to in the policy manual are available on the Well and Septic Forms page.
Site plans for building permits for properties and/or septic systems must adhere to the GWM Site Plan Requirements.
Setback requirements for well and septic systems must adhere to state and local regulation and policy.
Septic reserve areas (SRAs), also known as sewage disposal areas (SDAs), must be exclusive of buildings, other utilities or any other permanent or physical objects and may not be disturbed by earth moving, compaction or grading or covered by fill material.
It is strongly advised that property owners/contractors seeking to obtain a permit for a pool read and follow the GWM Pool Permit Guidance prior to submitting an application.
Testing and Investigations
Prior to putting any new well into service, the well must be issued a Certificate of Potability (COP) by the Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability (EPS) after verification that the water supply meets the mandated testing standards required by state regulations (i.e., the water must be analyzed for bacteria, nitrates, turbidity and sand). Once the COP has been issued, the responsibility of maintaining and testing private water supplies is up to the property owner. EPS staff is available to help troubleshoot any water quality concerns that you may have. A list of private laboratories who can assist you with water testing can be found in the Contractor References list below, under the list item Certified Water Testing Laboratories.
If you are interested in finding out information about ongoing investigations involving petroleum contamination of ground water in Baltimore County, view the Maryland Department of the Environment's Oil Control Program Remediation Sites.
Road Salt Related Claims
Baltimore County is no longer processing new claims for home well water contamination alleged to be caused by road salt application. Homeowners who require help or advice with this matter are encouraged to contact and work with a well drilling or water treatment company.
The following are lists of Tank Removal Contractors, Water Testing Laboratories, Septic System Installers, Well Drillers and Asbestos Removal Contractors who are licensed in Baltimore County.
|Certified Underground Fuel Storage Tank Removal Contractors||Contractors in the Baltimore Metro area who are certified by the Maryland Department of the Environment to remove underground fuel storage tanks.|
|Certified Water Testing Laboratories||Water testing laboratories in the Baltimore Metro area. For the purpose of property transfers, water quality tests are valid for 180 days.|
|Licensed Septic System Contractors||Excavators and septic systems installers in the Baltimore Metro area.|
|Licensed Well Drillers and Pump Installers||Well drillers and pump installers in the Baltimore Metro area.|
|Licensed Contractors to Remove and Encapsulate Asbestos||Contractors licensed by Maryland Department of Environment for removing and encapsulating asbestos.|