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On-Site Water and Sewer

We work to ensure that water supplies and sewage disposal systems located outside public utility service areas function properly and do not compromise drinking or groundwater quality.

In the development of new homes, conducting a perk test is usually the first step. Then, well and/or septic system permits may be issued. In situations where existing water supplies are being replaced or where failing septic systems are being repaired, application may be made directly for a septic system or well permit.

Perk Tests

Percolation (perk) tests are conducted to determine the suitability of a site to accept wastewater discharge from a septic system.

In the process of property or subdivision development in areas where public water and sewer service is unavailable, a perk test is often one of the first steps undertaken. Because the suitability of a parcel for development is determined by the ability to adequately discharge sewage generated on the property, site selection, testing times and procedures are best determined by the Health Department. Preparation for a perk test is shown here.

Call 240-313-3400 to arrange for a consultation on perk test requirements and procedures. Perk Tests are $150.00/lot tested. Download a Perk Test Application here.

Applications to become a licensed septic system installer are available here. Licensure requires the successful completion of an examination administered at the health department.

Septic Systems

Septic systems are used for the disposal of sewage where public or centralized sewage collection and disposal systems are not available. Proper functioning of septic systems depends on many factors and is most impacted by site suitability and use (load) of the system. In most cases of new construction, permits for septic systems are issued after perk tests are conducted and the site suitability has been determined by a sanitarian. When a system is being repaired, permits may be issued for the replacement of the failing system based on previous evaluation.

Conventional Septic System Permits are $150.00/system. Sand Mounds and best available technology are $250.00.

In many cases, the location (layout) of your existing septic system may be available from our records. This information is useful for building additions, swimming pool installations, septic tank service, etc.

There may be occasions when the proper construction and functioning of your septic system need to be verified. Real estate transfers and day care certification are two examples of this type of situation. An adequate evaluation requires a record search and a visit to the property to ensure proper function.

In conducting these activities, our sanitarians and support staff work closely with other Washington County Departments:

   Department of Permits and Inspections
   Department of Planning
   Water and Sewer Department

to facilitate development and system maintenance in a manner compatible with applicable regulations and sound sanitation practices.

Mail all completed applications with fee payments to:

     Washington County Health Department
     Environmental Health Division
     13332 Pennsylvania Avenue
     Hagerstown, MD 21742

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Send comments and suggestions to:wash.health@maryland.gov

Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
Martin O'Malley, Governor | Anthony G. Brown, Lt. Governor

Last Updated 12/14/2009     © Washington County Health Department