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Plumbing Inspection Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Do I need a plumbing permit?
A. Plumbing permits are normally required for almost all types of plumbing work with the exception of clearing stoppage in waste lines and the repairing of faucets and toilets. If in doubt, please contact Kevin Elko at 410-887-3620.

Q. Where can a sump pump be discharged?
To an approved water-course, street, alley or swale.

Q. How far off the property line must the sump pump discharge be?
Sump pumps cannot be directly discharged onto an adjoining property. The flow from point of discharge to any property line shall be a minimum of 10 feet.

Q. Is the County responsible for my sewer from the clean out to the street?
The County is not responsible for any portion of the sewer line on private (homeowners) property. The sewer and the clean out are the property owner's responsibility. The clean out is located near the property line and is used by the County to clean their portion of the sewer from the property line to the main located in the street.
Q. Will the County pay for any damages as a result of a sewage back up in my basement?
A. Subsections 5.5.1 through 5.5.3 within Section 5.5, titled Backwater Valves of the 2015 National Standard Plumbing Code adopted by Baltimore County in 2015, requires backwater valves to be installed on fixtures or drain inlets, subject to backflow and overflow, from blocked or restricted public sewers.
For damages as a result of sewage back up, contact the Insurance Division of Budget and Finance at 410-887-8400, and ask for Liabilities.

Q. Can you recommend a plumber?
No, however a list of licensed contractors is available online or you can inquire if a contractor is licensed in Baltimore County by contacting Kevin Elko at or 410-887-3620, Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Q. Do I need to get a permit to replace my hot water heater?
In order to ensure proper installation and compliance with required codes, a permit is required.
Q. What number do I contact to get a water meter?
Contact the Baltimore City Water Department at 443-263-2220.
Q. How do I coordinate an inspection time?
You must use Inspection Connection, where you will be able to schedule, reschedule or inquire about an inspection, or you can call 410-887-4638 and follow the prompts. You will need:

  • Your permit number
  • A three-digit inspection code provided on the website or by calling 410-887-4638

You and your contractor should coordinate your inspection requests so they can be provided in a timely manner. To contact your area inspector, call 410-887-3620, Monday through Friday, between 7:30 to 8 a.m. or 3 to 3:30 p.m.
Q. How can I obtain a plumbing permit application?
Contact Plumbing Inspections at 410-887-3620, Permit Processing at 410-887-3900, or you may obtain the application (PDF) online.

Q. Where can I obtain information and forms used in the plumbing process? May I file the permit?
Information and forms can be obtained online or by calling 410-887-3620. Note: only a licensed plumber or gasfitter may file a plumbing permit application.
Q. Can I flush the toilet when water is turned off?
Yes. If water is available from another source such as swimming pools, rainwater, or neighboring homes, pour a bucket of water into the toilet bowl and top off the toilet tank for your next flush.

Q. Do plumbers have to be licensed with Baltimore County to do plumbing work?
Yes, plumbers have to be licensed specifically with Baltimore County in order to do plumbing work in this jurisdiction. Hiring of unlicensed plumbers can cost you in the long run. If there is a problem, the County might not be able to help. Always check that the plumber is licensed through Baltimore County. Call the Plumbing Inspections Department at 410-887-3620 to verify. Should unlicensed work damage County or adjacent property, the owner might be liable.

Q. How can I maintain my septic system to avoid any problems?
Avoid flushing materials not designed to enter the plumbing system, as well as chemicals that may kill beneficial bacteria that aid in the treatment of waste water.
Q. Are plumbers required to clear clogs?
For most cases, plungers are your best bet. For more severe cases, you may need to contact a plumber.

Q. How often should washing machine hoses be checked or replaced?
Washing machine hoses should be checked periodically for leaks, wear or bulges, and replaced at least every five years. Always turn the water off to the machine when leaving your home for more than a few days.

Revised April 22, 2020         


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