- About Us
- Forms & Publications
- Account & Billing
- How to Read My Bill
- Connecting to Water & Sewer
- System Guides & Performance
- Petitioning for Services
- Water Quality Reports
- Education & Outreach
- Sewage Backup Prevention
- Water Conservation
- Biosolids Recycling Program
- Biannual Hydrant Flushing
The Division of Water & Sewer is responsible for the operation, maintenance, administration, planning and engineering of the public water and sewer facilities that service over 130,000 citizens of Harford County. Founded in 1956 as the Harford County Metropolitan Commission, the utility has been rendering exceptional service for 60 years.
Our mission is to provide our customers with safe, reliable water and sewer services in a responsive and cost effective manner; to protect public health and the environment; and to administer well-planned improvements to support community opportunities.
We aspire to:
- provide trusted and valued water and sewer services to our customers,
- stand as role models, recognized as the environmental stewards of our community, and
- continue to be innovators, helping to drive opportunity within the County.
Our dedicated professionals operate three drinking water facilities, which treat an average of 14 million gallons of water a day, ensuring residents and businesses have reliable access to clean, safe drinking water. Our assets include nearly 800 miles of water mains and laterals, 12 storage tanks, 12 booster stations, and 4,000 fire hydrants.
Water that goes down the drain from taking a shower, washing dishes, using a washing machine, or flushing a toilet is known as wastewater. Managing the County’s wastewater includes the upkeep of nearly 800 miles of sewer mains and laterals that carry wastewater from homes and businesses to be treated at one of our three wastewater treatment plants before it is returned to the waterway.
Our Service Area
The Abingdon Water Treatment Plant, pictured above, is one of three County-owned treatment plants that provides clean potable water. The below map outlines the Division's water and sewer facilities and service areas; click on the map for further detail.
Commercial Water & Sewer New Connection Forms
Fixture Count Commercial Form
Fixture Count Commercial Form with Values
Inside Water Meter License Agreement Form
No Fixture Change Certification
Residential Water & Sewer New Connection Application
For more information, see Water & Sewer New Connections
Water & Sewer Regulations & Guidelines
Suppliers & Materials for Water & Sewer Construction
Approved list of suppliers and materials for County water and sewer construction.
Certification for Contractors/Vendors
Approved list of certified contractors/vendors for County water and sewer construction.
Water & Sewer Design Guidelines
Guidelines on the design of water and sewer facilities within the County service area.
Specifications on the construction of water and sanitary sewers within the County service area.
Rules and Regulations
Details the policies, services, and fees that apply to the operations of the Division.
Adopted by the County Council, is a guide for the development public and private property.
Contact the Division of Water & Sewer for more information on obtaining a copy.
Water & Sewer Account & Billing Information
For all billing and account inquires, contact the Department of Treasury, Bureau of Water & Sewer Accounting at (410) 638 – 3311 or e-mail.
Pay by Mail:
Bureau of Revenue Collections
P.O. Box 609,
Bel Air, Maryland 21014.
Pay in Person:
220 South Main Street
Bel Air, Maryland 21014
Office hours are Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Except on County holidays
A "drop-box" for payment is also located at this address.
Pay by Telephone:
To make a payment by phone, call 1.844.836.9732
Visa®, MasterCard®, and Discover® credit cards and electronic checks are accepted. A convenience fee may apply.
To make a payment Online
Quarterly Usage Invoice
The County invoices each customer for water and sewage usage on a quarterly basis. This bill is generally based on the amount of water used by the property. Usage bills pay the cost of the daily operation and maintenance of the water and sewer system in the County and are increased annually by the CPI. Each customer has 30 days for payment. After 30 days a 5% late fee is added to the bill as required by the County Code Section 256-19(A)(4). Service may be terminated if the bill remains unpaid. If service is terminated an additional fee of $50 will be added to the bill for turn-off/turn-on.
Annual Assessment Invoice
Depending on where the property is located within the County, a property served by the County's water and sewer system can have one or more annual assessments that are due on the property. Most annual assessments are mailed July 1 to the latest property owner on record. These assessments are due by September 30 of each year. The annual assessment includes capital charges, which can vary from property to property depending on the time period of connection and location within the County. These charges are used to pay for the cost of construction transmission facilities, pumping stations, water booster stations, storage facilities, treatment facilities, etc.
How to Read My Bill
The Account Number is a unique number that identifies your account. Please refer to this number when you contact us.
The Service Address is where the meter is located. It is important that your service address is accurate.
The Amount Due Now is the total bill amount, which includes any previous unpaid balances. The Amount Due After date is the total amount due plus an additional (5%) penalty fee.
Please ensure the mailing address accurate. Property owners or agents should notify us if bills are to be forwarded to another address.
Previous Reading Date – the meter read date from your previous quarterly bill.
Present Reading Date – the most recent meter read date.
Number of Days – the time in days between the two meter readings, which is the number of days within the billing cycle.
Total – the amount of water, measured in thousands of gallons, provided during the invoice period. This value will be used as the base for the specific charges on your bill.
Average Daily Consumption – the average water used per day, measured in gallons.
Total Water (1,000gal)/ Number of Days = Average Daily Consumption
Type of Bill – ACT = Actual Meter Reading; EST = Estimated Meter Reading.
Previous Reading – the meter read value from your previous quarterly bill.
Present Reading – the most recent meter read value.
Water Charge – a per unit consumption charge based on the amount of water used. Funds collected through this charge pay for the treatment and delivery of water, as well as, for the maintenance and repair of the water system.
Sewer Charge – a per unit consumption charge based on the amount of wastewater processed. This charge pays for the collection facilities to transport wastewater from your home or business to one of several wastewater treatment plants, as well as, for the maintenance and repair of the wastewater system.
Purchased Water Charge – a per unit consumption charge based on the amount of water used. This charge recovers the costs associated with the purchase of water from sources other than Harford County- owned facilities.
Base Water Charge – a fixed charge to cover the cost of reading and inspecting meters, servicing customer accounts, billing collections, and utility administration cost associated with providing water service.
Base Sewer Charge – a fixed charge to cover the cost of servicing customer accounts, billing collections, and utility administration cost associated with providing water service.
Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR) Fee – a per unit consumption charge to recover the capital cost associated with regulatory requirements to remove nitrogen and phosphorus from wastewater before it is discharged into the receiving water source.
Enhanced Nutrient Removal (ENR) Fee – a per unit consumption charge to recover the capital cost for upgrading the County’s wastewater treatment plants to be in compliance with Maryland’s requirement for further reduction in nitrogen and phosphorus levels from wastewater before it is before it is discharged into the receiving water source.
For more information.
Bay Restoration Fee - the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Act of 2004 imposes a fee for upgrading the state’s largest wastewater treatment plants to ENR standards.
For more information.
Below the perforation contains your account and service address information. If paying by mail, please detach and return with your check.
Availability of Public Water and/or Sewer Services
To determine if public water and/or sewer is available to your property, please contact us at (410) 638 – 3300 or e-mail.
In order to assist our staff in responding to your inquiry, it would be helpful if you have as much or all of the following information as possible:
- Community or subdivision in which property is located
- Is the property improved or unimproved; meaning is there an existing dwelling?
- Lot number, parcel number, or tax map number
- Street address or nearest intersection or cross-street
- Name of property owner
If your property is located within three of the incorporated municipalities Town of Bel Air, City of Aberdeen, or the City of Havre de Grace, service is not provided by the County. Please contact their Public Works Department directly.
Commercial Application for Connecting to Public Water and/or Sewer Services
A Commercial Service Application (CSA) must be submitted to the Division for the connection to public water and/or sewer. This Commercial Application flowchart details the step-by-step process to obtain public water and/or sewer services.
If a new service must be constructed to “tap” into the main water/sewer line, then a drawing must accompany the application. The property owner is responsible for hiring a licensed utility contractor to install the proposed water and/or sewer service.
The Division requires a pre-application meeting for all new or redevelopment customers who are required to fill out a Commercial Application. The pre-application meeting will improve the process by providing feedback in the earlier stages of the design process, which may provide opportunities for optimized design that can help reduce onsite water utility costs and possibly reduce the meter size resulting in lower costs to the owner/developer and a more accurate meter registry for the County. Since domestic and fire service demands are critical in sizing the meter, the developer/owner must engage the services of a professional fire protection design firm as early in the design process as possible to provide the required sprinkler and on-site fire demands to support meter sizing.
Prior to a Commercial Application being approved by the County, hook-up fees must be paid prior to the pre-construction meeting.
Property owners and/or contractors must not commence work prior to the pre-construction conference. Call the Water & Sewer Maintenance Section at (410) 612-1612 prior to the pre-construction conference, anticipated start work date, appropriate inspection requests, or the final Use & Occupancy (U&O) Inspection. The contractor must have a copy of the approved Commercial Service Application and site plan at the pre-construction conference and on-site. Any changes must be approved by the County prior to installation.
For any questions or assistance during the Commercial Application process, contact us at (410) 638 – 3300 or e-mail.
Commercial Service Application (CSA)
Fixture Count Commercial Form
Fixture Count Commercial Form with Values
Inside Water Meter License Agreement Form
No Fixture Change Certification
Approved list of Supplies and Materials
Approved Certification for Contractors
Water & Sewer Standard Specifications
Water & Sewer Design Guidelines
Residential Application for Connecting to Public Water and/or Sewer Services
To establish water and/or sewer service at your residence, a Residential Service Application (RSA) is required to be submitted, reviewed and approved prior to construction of the water and/or sewer service. This Residential Application flowchart details the step-by-step process to obtain public water and/or sewer services.
If a new service must be constructed in order to “tap” into the main water and/or sewer line, the property owner is responsible for hiring a licensed utility contractor to install the proposed water and/or sewer service. When you obtain prices from private contractors, keep in mind that a County inspector must be on-site while the work is being performed for which you will be billed per hour for the County's inspector's time.
The contractor must show on a drawing where he will be tapping the water and/or sewer service and this drawing should be attached to the application at submittal. The contractor will be required to schedule a pre-construction meeting with the Water & Sewer Maintenance Section at prior to the start of construction.
Prior to a Residential Application being approved by the County, hook-up fees must be paid prior to the pre-construction meeting. Hook-Up fees are collected for each new connection and are used to pay the debt incurred to operate the water treatment plants, maintaining the infrastructure that distribute the treated water, including the pipes, water tanks, and booster stations that brings the water to your property and for the over 780 miles of sewer pipes which take the sewage away from your property for treatment and disposal.
Questions may be directed to (410) 638-3300 or e-mail.
Petitioning for Public Water and/or Sewer Services
To confirm if public water and/or sewer is available to your property, please contact us.
In order to assist our staff in responding to your inquiry, it would be helpful if you have as much of the following information as possible:
- Community or subdivision in which property is located
- Is the property improved or unimproved; is there an existing dwelling?
- Lot number, parcel number, or tax map number
- Street address or nearest intersection or cross-street
- Name of property owner
Once you have confirmed that public water and/or sewer is not available to your property, but is nearby, you may organize a petition to have it extended to your property. The first step is to complete a Water & Sewer Service Petition Form and submit it to the Division of Water & Sewer. An area map will be constructed, which will highlight all properties which could be served by the water and/or sewer extension you are seeking. This map will allow you to approach all of the property owners in the vicinity to sign the form; indicating an interest in the possibility of initiating a petition.
The completed form will provide the Water & Sewer Division a measure of the neighborhood's interest in initiating a petition. Since all property owners are responsible for all of the eventual costs associated with the administration, design, and construction of the petition project, it would be in the neighborhood's best interest to obtain as many signatures as possible in order to reduce the overall cost per property.
When you return the petition form, the Division will determine whether there is enough interest to initiate a petition project. If there is sufficient interest, the Division will further define the project service area and the associated project costs. A petition package will be mailed to every property owner within the proposed service area. This information will include a summary of the estimated project costs, annual estimated assessments, term of the assessments, and a ballot. The ballot will include a statement that obligates each property owner to pay for all costs associated with the project if it is formally approved.
The Division of Water & Sewer will hold a community meeting with the property owners to explain all aspects of the project and will answer questions the property owners may.
Once the ballots are certified and tallied, one of two actions will occur:
- If the majority of the property owners are opposed to the project, for whatever reason, Division will contact the Harford County Health Department for their recommendation. Once the Health Department completes their analysis and recommends the area be served due to public health considerations, the Division of Water & Sewer may proceed with the petition. If the Health Department does not recommend the area be served, the property owners will be notified and the project file will be closed until such time that the property owners request it to be reopened.
- If the majority of property owners are in favor of the project, a formal public hearing will be scheduled before the County Council.
Several actions are required of the County Council when a petition is brought before them as a formal public hearing. As the proposed project progresses, the Division of Water & Sewer will request the Council to consider one or more of the following actions as appropriate:
• Approval of the petition.
- Transfer of funding and appropriation to create a capital project, which will build the water and/or sewer extension.
- Revision of the Water & Sewer Master Plan to include the properties involved in the proposed petition, if they are not already included. The Master Plan is the document, ultimately approved by the State, that indicates all properties in the County that are included in the area that can be serviced by the public water and/or sewer facilities.
If the County Council finds the petition in order, during the legislation session that following the public hearings, they will vote to authorize the funding and the construction for the project. The property owners will then be notified as to when construction is estimated to begin. Council authorization of funding will be based on the preliminary estimate provided by the Division of Water & Sewer. The estimated project cost will be updated when project design is nearing completion. If the estimated project cost exceeds available funding, the construction contracts shall not be awarded until the County Council approves additional funding. The Division of Water & Sewer will notify all affected property owners of associated revised costs.
If the County Council does not find the petition in order, during the legislative session they will vote to not authorize the funding for the project. The property owners will then be notified and the file will be closed.
When the petition is formally approved, funded and the utility is constructed all of the affected property owners will be billed an annual assessment to pay the debt incurred by the Division of Water & Sewer. The actual dollar amount of the annual payment and the number of years that are required to pay are determined when the project is complete and all actual costs are known.
Annual Consumer Confidence Report (CCR)
Annual Consumer Confidence Report 2017
Annual Consumer Confidence Report 2016
Annual Consumer Confidence Report 2015
Annual Consumer Confidence Report 2014
Annual Consumer Confidence Report 2013
Annual Consumer Confidence Report 2012
Annual Consumer Confidence Report 2011 Note: Bookmarks will not be visible when viewing
Annual Consumer Confidence Report 2010 within Microsoft Edge. In Google Chrome
Annual Consumer Confidence Report 2009 and Mozilla Firefox, bookmarks will be visible
Annual Consumer Confidence Report 2008 when activated within the browser.
Annual Consumer Confidence Report 2007
What is the Safe water Drinking Act?
The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) is the main federal law that ensures the quality of drinking water. Under SDWA, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) sets standards for drinking water quality and oversees the states, localities, and water suppliers who implement those standards.
The SDWA was originally passed by Congress in 1974 to protect public health by regulating the nation's public drinking water supply. The law was amended in 1986 and 1996 and requires many actions to protect drinking water and its sources: rivers, lakes, reservoirs, springs, and ground water wells.
The SDWA authorizes the U.S. EPA to set national health-based standards for drinking water to protect against both naturally-occurring and man-made contaminants that may be found in drinking water. U.S. EPA, individual states, and the community water systems then work together to make sure that these standards are met.
What is a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR)?
The Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1996 requires all community water systems to report annually to their customers regarding the quality of their drinking water and any risks associated with contaminants detected in the water. Water systems must report data for the previous calendar year by July 1 of each year.
What Information Does a CCR Contain?
Each community water systems may include any appropriate information to enhance their reports, however the reports must contain the following information:
- The lake, river, aquifer, or other source of the drinking water
- A brief summary of the susceptibility to contamination of the local drinking water source, based on the source water assessments that states are completing over the next five years
- How to get a copy of the water system's complete source water assessment
- The level (or range of levels) of any contaminant found in local drinking water, as well as EPA's health-based standard (maximum contaminant level) for comparison
- The likely source of that contaminant in the local drinking water supply
- The potential health effects of any contaminant detected in violation of an EPA health standard, and an accounting of the system's actions to restore safe drinking water
- The water system's compliance with other drinking water-related rules
- An educational statement for vulnerable populations about avoiding Cryptosporidium
- Educational information on nitrate, arsenic, or lead in areas where these contaminants are detected above 50% of EPA's standard
- Phone numbers of additional sources of information, including the water system and EPA's Safe Drinking Water Hotline (1-800-426-4791).
Education & Outreach
Have you ever wondered what happens to the dirty water from your shower, laundry and toilet after it goes down the drain? Sod Run Wastewater Treatment Plant is one of two wastewater treatment plants operated by the County. Tours of our Sod Run are available.
Do you know how water gets to your faucet and the processes that happen to ensure its quality and safety? Come visit our Abingdon Water Treatment Plant, which is one of three water treatment plants within the County.
Tours at both facilities are limited to groups of 15 people or less.
For group or student tours, contact (410) 273-5617.
Treatment plants are functioning industrial sites in operation 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Hard hats are provided and must be worn at all times while on tour. Sturdy closed shoes and socks, long pants or long skirts are required for both your safety and comfort. No flip-flops, sandals, clogs, open toed shoes, or shorts. If you are not wearing the appropriate attire you may be prohibited from taking the tour.
Opportunities for Grades 3 through 8
Please visit the Water & Sewer Administration & Engineering building, located in Abingdon, MD for a presentation on selected topics such as how water treatment works, the water cycle, source water protection and Chesapeake Bay water quality, and water conservation. Classroom instruction is limited to small groups of 15 students or less.
Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) is a condition in which untreated sewage is discharged from a sanitary sewer into the environment prior to reaching sewage treatment facilities. Frequent causes of SSO spills include blockage of sewer lines, Infiltration/Inflow of excessive stormwater into sewer lines during heavy rainfall, malfunction of pumping station lifts or electrical power failure, or broken sewer lines.
The sewer system owned and operated by Harford County consists of over 788 miles of sewer mains running from 8” to 54” in diameter, 54 sewage pumping stations and three treatment plants. Although we carefully manage the system with a goal of eliminating all spilled untreated sewage, some cannot be totally avoided. Extraneous water from rainfall and illegal connections can cause the system to be overburdened, while debris such as rags, wipes, grease, consumer materials and roots can create blockages within the system. In addition, mechanical and electrical problems can cause pumps to fail, and pipelines to break due to age related deterioration, corrosion, and other causes and sometimes construction activities damage the system by accident or careless excavation
Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) Reporting
For more information on SSO reporting regulations Maryland Department of the Environment
What Measures Can Each Home or Business Owner Do to Prevent SSO’s?
Keep Drains and Sewers Clear of Fats, Oils and Grease (FOG)
FOG’s are not just bad for your arteries and waistline; they are also bad for your plumbing system and sewer lines. Grease is one of the leading causes of dry weather SSO's. When you pour FOG’s down the drain, it will build up over time, eventually blocking your pipes, causing sewage backups in your home or sewer lines. Running hot water after pouring FOG’s down the drain does not resolve these issues because once the FOGs cool, they congeal and coat pipes.
These common sources of FOG should never be poured down the drain or toilet:
• Gravy, sauces and soups
• Cooking oil, butter, shortening, lard and margarine
• Milk, cream, sour cream and mayonnaise
• Food scraps
• Oil from cooked meats
Instead, pour all liquid oil and grease from cooking into a grease waste container such as a coffee can or jar. Once full, cap the container securely dispose in the garbage. Put any spilled or waste food material into the trash, not down the garbage disposal and use screens over drains to catch food waste particles, then dispose of the waste particles in the garbage.
Maintain and Repair Sewer Laterals
A sewer lateral, also known as a building’s sewer, is the waste disposal pipe connecting a home or business to the County sewer main in the street. While the County is responsible for maintaining its sewer main located in the public way, property owners are responsible for all expenses resulting from maintenance and repair of their building’s entire lateral from inside the property’s basement to County’s sewer main in the street. Blocked and collapsed sewer laterals can lead to sewer backups into a property. Have your sewer lateral inspected for blockages, breaks, and leaks. If a problem is detected, repairing, replacing, or relining your sewer lateral can help prevent sewer backups.
Keep Wipes out of Pipes
There are many new disposable wipes that claim to be “flushable” and “sewer safe.” However, these wipes do not break down as they travel through pipes and into the sewer system. Wipes can create clogs in both household plumbing and the public sewer system and result in SSO’s.
Wipes that should be disposed of in the garbage, and not flushed down the toilet, include:
• Hygiene wipes
• Baby wipes
• Disinfecting wipes
Disconnect Your Downspout
A downspout, also known as a roof leader, carries excess stormwater from roofs and gutters away from homes to yards and grassy areas. Some downspouts are improperly connected into the sewer system which, which can overburden the sewer system during heavy rain events and result in sewer backups onto streets and into properties. Disconnect downspouts from sewer system and redirect to drain into the yard or other landscaped area. This removes excess flow from the sewer system and greatly reduces the chance of SSO’s.
Properly Install Backwater Valves
Heavy rainstorms can cause overland flooding and sewage backups into homes or businesses in low-lying areas. While overland flooding cannot always be prevented, sewage backups can be avoided if your property is properly equipped with a backwater valve.
A backwater valve is a fixture that is installed on a sewer line or drain in the basement. A properly installed backwater valve prevents the reverse flow of water, keeping sewage from entering your property.
Things You Can Do to Conserve Water and Reduce Your Water/Sewer Bill
Water leaks are very expensive and can play havoc with your water bill and your budget. Make it a regular practice to check all toilets and faucets for leaks. The average faucet that has a minor leak for three months wastes about 2,000 gallons and a toilet that leaks for three months uses about 22,500 gallons of water.
In the Bath
- Try to reduce the time you spend in the shower. Ten minutes daily in the shower uses 50 gallons of water a day and costs $124.00 a year in water and sewer charges.
- Install water-saving devices on your shower heads and faucets.
- Turn off the water when brushing your teeth, shaving, and washing your hair.
- Only run the dishwasher and clothes washer when you have full loads.
- Wash vegetables in a bowl with a brush instead of under running water.
- Limit your use of the kitchen disposal.
Outside and in the Garden
- Water plants and lawn only when necessary. Use a 5/8” hose instead of a larger one.
- When you wash your car, turn off the water while soaping it up.
- Disconnect your hoses when you are away and during the winter.
There are two main products of the wastewater treatment process; clean water, that is released back to the waterway, and the collected solids, which are commonly referred to as sludge. When sludge is segregated, additionally processed, biologically stabilized and prepared for beneficial utilization, it is referred to more appropriately as biosolids.
How does the County’s Biosolids Beneficial Use Program benefit me?
This program exemplifies how public-private partnerships benefit all members of our community. Land application of biosolids helps save financial resources. Savings are realized through reduced wastewater treatment costs, reduced sludge disposal costs, and reduced amount of chemical fertilizer required for crop production. Improving our environment is another benefit. Biosolids are an effective soil conditioner. The organic content improves soil structure, increases moisture retention, prevents soil compaction, and supplies micronutrients for healthy plant growth and high crop yield.
Since biosolids are a byproduct of the wastewater treatment process, are they safe?
Biosolids are safe when applied according to the current proper State and local control measures. Environmental, agricultural, and health considerations are paramount concerns of our Biosolids Beneficial Use Program. Harford County’s land application program for biosolids is conducted under strict federal and state regulations. To further ensure a high quality end product the County has implemented a pro-active, national award winning industrial user pretreatment program. Monitoring licensed septage haulers, industrial site inspections, sampling and laboratory analysis are all important parts of our wastewater and biosolids quality assurance program.
Are all biosolids of the same quality and do certain restrictions apply to biosolids generated from different wastewater treatment facilities?
There are differences in the physical (percent solids), chemical, and biological (pathogen reduction) characteristics of biosolids. Harford County’s Pretreatment program is designed to prevent excessive levels of un-wanted pollutants (dissolved metals and other hazardous chemicals) from entering the wastewater stream in the first place. The County has strict monitoring and sampling regulatory requirements which must be fulfilled daily. These important control measures ensure that the biosolids generated from Sod Run meet the USEPA criteria for a “high quality” biosolids material. Other facilities may have different regulatory monitoring requirements or have not fully implemented a pretreatment program.
Who monitors the land application of biosolids in the agricultural community?
Specialized businesses, with equipment and trained personnel, are responsible for all contractual obligations associated with the County’s biosolids land application program. Contractor responsibilities include: enrollment of farmers and landowners; securing the required acreage and appropriate state and local permits; evaluating and calculating land/crop nutrients requirements; and proper transportation and biosolids application procedures. The Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) is the primary regulatory authority overseeing this specialized industry. MDE assures that all regulatory requirements are met and enforced. The development of “Safety Factors” assures that the land application of biosolids is safe with regards to both human and environmental health. Safety factors include required buffer zones near houses, wells, or streams; nutrient management plans (which is not required when other types of fertilizer are used); and site inspections.
If I use Biosolids on my agricultural land, will my well and drinking water be contaminated?
No. Biosolids application is based on and limited to the annual application rate of available nitrogen as it applies to crop nutrient requirements. The major concern with land application of nitrogen sources is the potential for excess nitrogen not used by the plants for growth and development to leach or percolate through the soil and end up in our drinking water aquifers. A state certified Nutrient Manager will evaluate nitrogen requirements for specified crop production and recommend the correct biosolids application rate. As a further safeguard, the County has an inspection program specifying procedures for proper application.
Will odors occur when biosolids are land applied?
Yes. However, biosolids have undergone additional stabilization processes which helps reduce the release of odor-causing compounds. Lime is also added to reduce odors. Most people notice a slight “earthy” odor after biosolids have been applied. If there is an off property odor it usually dissipates within a short period of time. The ability of the farmer to spread manure and biosolids, regardless of major odors, is normally a County regulated allowance.
Will the use of biosolids affect my land or restrict future land use?
No, as long as proper controls and established safeguards have been observed and followed. Some short term restrictions may apply regarding types of crops or vegetables raised, animal grazing prohibitions, or public use directly after biosolids application.
How will I know if biosolids are benefitting farmers in my community?
The Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) conducts public information meetings to notify surrounding neighbors of properties land applying biosolids.
How will I know who’s participating in the Biosolids Program?
Land application program participants may display a County program recognition sign or plaque “Outstanding in our Fields”
Sod Run Wastewater Treatment Plant at (410) 273-5617.
BIANNUAL FLUSHING OF FIRE HYDRANTS
What is a flushing program?
Water main flushing is a routine operation that Harford County performs to clean and maintain our water distribution system. During this operation, water is forced through underground water mains at high speed and flushed out of nearby fire hydrant to remove any accumulated sediment. Harford County maintains approximately 700 miles of water distribution pipelines and 4000 fire hydrants. Flushing is done one section at a time to ensure that the water runs clear.
Why is this maintenance operation important?
As part of the Harford County Water & Sewer Division’s mission to provide a reliable, high quality drinking water supply a flushing program is used to remove many deposits or sediments that may affect taste and odor. Flushing can also help protect the integrity of the pipe by using higher than normal water velocities that will scour the inside of the pipe and reduce corrosion. The Flushing Program also involves exercising valves and inspecting fire hydrants to ensure they are functioning properly.
When will the flushing be conducted?
The Flushing Program takes place every year during the months between April and October from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm. Schedules may change if something happens in the system that requires immediate attention or repair.
During flushing operations, residents may hear water discharging with force from the hydrants and see water flowing in the streets. Drivers are asked to take extra care during this time so as to avoid hydroplaning and other hazardous conditions.
What will happen in my home or business?
While the water main pipes close to your home or business are being flushed you may experience temporary periods of low pressure. You may also see brown or discolored water, which can be drawn into homes and businesses if the water is being used during or immediately following the flushing. This is a temporary condition and should only affect customers for a few hours at most. If discoloration occurs, open the cold water tap nearest to the water main, usually the front outside faucet, to full flow and run the water into your garden or lawn for a few minutes until it is clear. If the water does not clear the first time, wait a few minutes and run the water again. Also, it is important to not run hot water if you notice it is discolored, as the discolored water can be drawn into the hot water tank.
Is the water safe to drink?
Yes. The temporary discoloration is caused by minerals and other fine particles which are not harmful to your health and are found in every drinking water system.
Need additional information?
Please call our Water & Sewer Maintenance division at 410-612-1612.
EMERGENCY - Maintenance
24 Hours / 7 Days a Week
Phone: (410) 612 - 1612
Deputy Director of Water & Sewer