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County Announces Policy Regarding Mandatory Connection to Sanitary Sewer Where Available

Post Date:07/11/2017 3:48 PM


Media Contact: Scott Flanigan, P.E.
(410) 996-5259 (Office)
(410) 996-8414 (Fax)

July 11, 2017

Elkton, MD – The Cecil County Department of Public Works (DPW) has published a formal written policy regarding implementation of a section of the Cecil County Code that mandates that properties be connected to the County’s sanitary sewer system in cases where the property abuts the sewer main.

Section 97-12 of the Cecil County Code requires property owners to connect to public sanitary sewer where and when it is available and, once the connection is made, to formally abandon existing on-site disposal systems. Abandonment typically entails disconnecting the building drain, pumping out and disposing of the contents of the holding tank, punching holes in the bottom of the tank to permit drainage, and filling the tank with stone.

Section 97-12 states, in part, that connection to the County sewer shall be made “Within the time prescribed by the County and in the manner prescribed by such rules and regulations as may be promulgated by the Director of Sanitary Facilities…” The newly-published policy document, formally titled “Cecil County Sanitary District Policy Memorandum # 2: Mandatory Connection to County Sanitary Sewer System” and dated July 10, 2017 prescribes the circumstances and time in which such connections must be made.

The policy will guide planned future sewer extension projects, but also applies to previously-completed projects. The policy memo separates sewer extension projects into two categories: those where the primary purpose is to address threats to public health and the environment from failed or failing existing on-site disposal systems such as septic tanks, and those where the primary purpose is to help facilitate economic development.

In cases where the primary purpose is to safeguard public health and the environment, property owners will be required to connect to sewer immediately; such connections will usually be done by the County’s contractor as part of the project. In cases where threats to public health and the environment are not the main purpose, property owners will be allowed to defer connection for a period of time if they so choose. Under the policy, in those cases, the property owner can defer connection until one of several “triggering events” or ten (10) years pass from the completion of the sewer extension project, whichever occurs first.

The triggering events are listed in detail in the policy memo but include such things as title transfer (except thru inheritance or divorce); issuance of a building permit for the property; subdivision of the parcel; a determination by the Cecil County Health Department that the capacity of the sewage disposal system needs to be increased to meet increased demand; or a determination by the Cecil County Health Department that the existing on-site disposal system is failed or failing or otherwise constitutes a health threat.

DPW intends to notify owners of affected properties in writing of the requirement to connect.

Chapter 97, Sanitary District and the rest of the Cecil County Code is available on-line under the “About Us” section of the Cecil County Government’s website, The complete text of Cecil County Sanitary District Policy Memorandum # 2 is available on the DPW portion of the County’s website at


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