Wednesday, March 28, 2012

MD Senate Passes Weakened $#!* Bill

Maryland Senate passes controversial septic bill
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s plan to curb sprawl cleared the Senate on Tuesday, although without key provisions that would have given the state power to override some local zoning decisions on new housing developments that rely on septic systems.

O’Malley (D) had said the state needed the authority to ensure it could reduce the waste that leaches from the developments and pollutes the Chesapeake Bay. But last week he weakened the proposal as it became clear that the bill faced an uncertain future. With the override provisions struck from the bill, the Senate voted 32 to 14 along mostly party lines to require counties to draw mapped “tiers” of development before any major subdivisions served by septic systems could be approved.
...weakening the septic legislation was key to acceptance by lawmakers. An amendment to the measure, which Sen. Thomas M. Middleton (D-Charles) introduced last week with O’Malley’s support, killed provisions that would have given the state authority to deny permits if it decided counties were not abiding by master plan guidelines.
The government continues to try to choke back septic systems which contribute a small proportion of the pollution to Chesapeake Bay, while Baltimore (where O'Malley used to be mayor) continues major sewage spills:

Pipe Break Releases 17 Million Gallons of Sewage a Day into Bay Tributary
A break in a 54-inch sewage line inside a Baltimore area sewage pumping plant on Sunday is releasing 17 million gallons of sewage a day into the Patapsco River, with the pollution flow, including bacteria and excess nitrogen, expected to continue until the rupture can be fixed on Thursday.

As a result of the problems at the Patapsco Pumping Station at 4612 Annapolis Road, Baltimore and Anne Arundel County officials are warning people to avoid all contact with the Chesapeake Bay tributary, from Hammonds Ferry Road to the Middle Branch.

“The Department of Health has posted emergency closing signs along the section of the Patapsco River, and the closure will remain in effect until further notice,” the Anne Arundel County Health Department advised. “People coming in contact with the affected water are advised to wash well with soap and warm water immediately. Clothing should also be washed.”

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