Maryland Department of Environment

Several Cove Point Beach residents recently received an undated letter from the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) seeking approval to come on the property owners land to “conduct an assessment to identify and evaluate factors influencing the sanitary quality of Maryland’s shellfish growing waters.”

CPBA Board Member, Carol Booker, contacted the contact person listed on the letter. He is a member of the department’s shellfish team, which tests the bay waters for bacteria, usually taking samples from a boat. However, every 12 years, they are required to do a statewide shoreline survey. A team of 15 staff surveyors is now conducting a voluntary, visual survey of waterfront properties from Cove Point north to St. Leonard.

They sent the letters prior to conducting the survey because our community has a number of “No Trespassing” signs in various places. Starting on Friday, Feb. 8, they will knock twice on a door and if someone answers and is willing to answer a few questions (it is all voluntary), they will be asked:

– How old is your septic system?
– When was it last pumped?
– Do you have any outdoor pets (dogs/cats)? (There was one community in which a property owner had a lot of dogs outside and did not clean up their droppings; the surveyor reported it to the county. The MDE team itself has no enforcement power.)

The surveyor will not examine your septic system unless you ask him to do so. He will only look around at visible conditions on the property, including any standing water which may be coming from the septic system.

If a problem is identified, it will be reported to Calvert County. If there is a problem with the septic system, the surveyor will fill out a form to submit to the county. He will ask the property owner to sign it, but that is voluntary.

The Dominion LNG plant is among the properties on this survey.

It was emphasized that this is a routine event and cooperation is completely voluntary.

If you received a letter and have questions, you need to contact Mr. Adam Wose, Maryland Department of Environment at 410-960-7091.

Thank you,
Paul Plattner
President, CPBA, Inc.