Septic Bill Sparks Controversy Throughout Eastern Shore - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Septic Bill Sparks Controversy Throughout Maryland's Eastern Shore

Posted: Updated:

MARION STATION, Md.- It is a law igniting controversy in counties all across Maryland, especially on the Eastern Shore. What is known as the "Septic Bill," which passed this legislative session, includes a four-tier system dictating where septic systems are allowed. Many counties now find themselves scrambling to meet this December's implementation deadline, and farmers say they are the ones being hurt most.

Gov. Martin O'Malley calls septic pollution the fastest growing cause of nitrogen pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. Supporters of the bill say it will help curb that. Others argue the bill will just add thousands of dollars to the cost of new homes and greatly devalue farm land.

Coulbourne Swift is a life-long farmer; his life's work is laid out over more than 3,100 acres of land from Marion Station to Westover.

The state's septic law greatly limits how much he can divide those acres, if he chooses to do so.

"It's going to take away the value from my land and the rights, I won't be able to develop it. If I give away one lot to a grandchild, that stops all development on any parcel that I own," Swift said.

According to O'Malley, the bill will "prevent 50,000 new septic systems and stop as much as 1.1 million pounds of nitrogen pollution from being pumped into surface water by 2035."

Supporters say it is a vital piece of legislation.

"I think it's better for the environment," noted Robert Burns. "Anything that would save the bay. I think they can handle it if they work it right because the bay is a wonderful place and I'd hate to see it all polluted up."

But farmers like Swift do not think punishing farmers is the right way to do it.

"They're not looking at the pollution source," Swift explained. "They're looking at, it's like when you're bleeding to death, your throat's cut, they want to fix your toe. The urban sewer plants, I feel, is the problem and they need to fix them, because they're the ones that are polluting the bay."

Del. Mike McDermott, R-District 38B, said the state is taking away land-use rights from its citizens.

"The governor's office has this big, cookie cutter approach to dealing with this and the universal approach down here on the Eastern Shore is a nightmare for us to try and navigate and continue to have any healthy growth or development," he said.

Officials in Wicomico County believe this December's deadline is going to be tough to meet.

An amendment was made to the bill allowing local governments to draft their own plans, but state-established criteria must be met under this four-tier system.

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • Professor's Statement on Warmbier Causes Controversy

    Professor's Statement on Warmbier Causes Controversy

    Saturday, June 24 2017 10:47 PM EDT2017-06-25 02:47:08 GMT
    Saturday, June 24 2017 10:47 PM EDT2017-06-25 02:47:08 GMT
    (Photo Credit: University of Delaware)(Photo Credit: University of Delaware)

    WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - The University of Delaware is distancing itself from comments made by an adjunct professor after she said a college student who died after being held by North Korea "got exactly what he deserved."     

    More

    WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - The University of Delaware is distancing itself from comments made by an adjunct professor after she said a college student who died after being held by North Korea "got exactly what he deserved."     

    More
  • Troopers Search for Stabbing Suspect

    Troopers Search for Stabbing Suspect

    Saturday, June 24 2017 10:40 PM EDT2017-06-25 02:40:37 GMT
    Saturday, June 24 2017 10:40 PM EDT2017-06-25 02:40:37 GMT
    (Photo Credit: MGN)(Photo Credit: MGN)

    HURLOCK, Md. -- Maryland State Troopers of the Easton Barrack are searching for the suspect responsible for stabbing a man early Saturday morning. 

    More

    HURLOCK, Md. -- Maryland State Troopers of the Easton Barrack are searching for the suspect responsible for stabbing a man early Saturday morning. 

    More
  • Dine and Dash Suspects Arrested

    Dine and Dash Suspects Arrested

    Friday, June 23 2017 11:54 PM EDT2017-06-24 03:54:56 GMT
    Friday, June 23 2017 11:56 PM EDT2017-06-24 03:56:32 GMT
    Two people were arrested for leaving before paying at two Georgetown restaurants.Two people were arrested for leaving before paying at two Georgetown restaurants.

    A Dover man and a Smyrna woman were arrested after they dined and dashed at two Georgetown restaurants two days in a row, according to the Georgetown Police Department.

    More

    A Dover man and a Smyrna woman were arrested after they dined and dashed at two Georgetown restaurants two days in a row, according to the Georgetown Police Department.

    More
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Professor's Statement on Warmbier Causes Controversy

    Professor's Statement on Warmbier Causes Controversy

    Saturday, June 24 2017 10:47 PM EDT2017-06-25 02:47:08 GMT
    Saturday, June 24 2017 10:47 PM EDT2017-06-25 02:47:08 GMT
    (Photo Credit: University of Delaware)(Photo Credit: University of Delaware)

    WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - The University of Delaware is distancing itself from comments made by an adjunct professor after she said a college student who died after being held by North Korea "got exactly what he deserved."     

    More

    WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - The University of Delaware is distancing itself from comments made by an adjunct professor after she said a college student who died after being held by North Korea "got exactly what he deserved."     

    More
  • Dine and Dash Suspects Arrested

    Dine and Dash Suspects Arrested

    Friday, June 23 2017 11:54 PM EDT2017-06-24 03:54:56 GMT
    Friday, June 23 2017 11:56 PM EDT2017-06-24 03:56:32 GMT
    Two people were arrested for leaving before paying at two Georgetown restaurants.Two people were arrested for leaving before paying at two Georgetown restaurants.

    A Dover man and a Smyrna woman were arrested after they dined and dashed at two Georgetown restaurants two days in a row, according to the Georgetown Police Department.

    More

    A Dover man and a Smyrna woman were arrested after they dined and dashed at two Georgetown restaurants two days in a row, according to the Georgetown Police Department.

    More
  • Troopers Search for Stabbing Suspect

    Troopers Search for Stabbing Suspect

    Saturday, June 24 2017 10:40 PM EDT2017-06-25 02:40:37 GMT
    Saturday, June 24 2017 10:40 PM EDT2017-06-25 02:40:37 GMT
    (Photo Credit: MGN)(Photo Credit: MGN)

    HURLOCK, Md. -- Maryland State Troopers of the Easton Barrack are searching for the suspect responsible for stabbing a man early Saturday morning. 

    More

    HURLOCK, Md. -- Maryland State Troopers of the Easton Barrack are searching for the suspect responsible for stabbing a man early Saturday morning. 

    More
  • Most Popular VideosMost Popular VideosMore>>

  • City of Salisbury Celebrates the Life of Brooke Mulford

    City of Salisbury Celebrates the Life of Brooke Mulford

    The City of Salisbury celebrated the life of 12-year-old Brooke Mulford Friday night.

    Hundreds of balloons were released into the sky from James Bennett High School Friday night in honor of Brooke Mulford.

    Brooke battled neuroblastoma for nearly 8 years and passed away on June 12th.

    More

    The City of Salisbury celebrated the life of 12-year-old Brooke Mulford Friday night.

    Hundreds of balloons were released into the sky from James Bennett High School Friday night in honor of Brooke Mulford.

    Brooke battled neuroblastoma for nearly 8 years and passed away on June 12th.

    More
  • Firefly Cleanup Underway, Police Catch Firefly Attendees Selling Drugs

    Firefly Cleanup Underway, Police Catch Firefly Attendees Selling Drugs

    Several people are facing drug charges after Dover police say they sold drugs to an undercover officer at the Firefly Music Festival.

    More

    Several people are facing drug charges after Dover police say they sold drugs to an undercover officer at the Firefly Music Festival.

    More
  • New Children's Museum Possible in Salisbury

    New Children's Museum Possible in Salisbury

    Children in Salisbury may be getting a brand new place to explore and learn. Discussions of a new children's museum are in the works, although the development is still in its very early stages.

    Owners of local restaurant Cactus Taverna have recently purchased a 3-acre plot of land on Riverside Drive in Salisbury. There are talks of having the children's museum built on the land, however there are no set plans.

    More

    Children in Salisbury may be getting a brand new place to explore and learn. Discussions of a new children's museum are in the works, although the development is still in its very early stages.

    Owners of local restaurant Cactus Taverna have recently purchased a 3-acre plot of land on Riverside Drive in Salisbury. There are talks of having the children's museum built on the land, however there are no set plans.

    More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices