From the Office of Senator Nancy Jacobs:
Today regulations have been implemented that require installation of a very expensive septic system in all newly built homes, and in existing houses where those systems must be replaced or improvements are made. Estimates for the cost of this “Best Available Technology” septic system will be about $12,000 per household, and there are increased maintenance costs.
In pushing through this regulation the Administration has illegally trumped the power of the General Assembly which voted to reject this requirement time after time. In the 2009 Legislative Session, a bill tried to require all septic systems in Maryland to use BAT systems. This was eventually amended to apply only in Maryland’s critical areas near the Bay. All other attempts to expand this requirement to the entire state have failed.
Even worse, during this tenuous economic time, the septic requirement will have a severe impact on the state’s housing market. Maryland Realtors oppose it; saying the additional 12 thousand dollar septic cost and a new law requiring 3 thousand dollars for a sprinkler system will push up the cost of a new home by 15 thousand dollars. That will make it unaffordable for many and hurt the people with jobs the housing industry.
The benefits are minimal and the costs are high. Studies show of the nitrogen running into the Bay, only 1.4% comes from Maryland septic systems. Yet a state analysis finds the cost of the new septic requirement will be 60 million dollars per year for consumers. The larger sources of nitrogen should be our focus.
Senator Nancy Jacobs hopes there will be a legal challenge to these new septic regulations proving a state agency does not have the authority to usurp the power of the legislature when it has ruled. She also plans to introduce legislation that expands the power of the individual members of the Senate Committee that oversees state regulations.