Collapsed Septic Tanks, Overflowing and Failing Septic Systems Interim Health and Safety Requirements

The Anne Arundel County Property Maintenance Code requires that property owners maintain their septic system in a safe, sanitary and functional condition. A property owner is responsible for assuring the following interim health and safety requirements are met until the septic system is repaired or replaced.

  1. Pump the Septic Tank. The property owner must have the septic tank pumped by a licensed liquid waste hauler. The property owner must continue septic tank pump-outs to prevent any future overflow of the septic tank or septic system.‚Äč
  2. Contain the overflow. The property owner must contain the overflow from affecting neighboring properties by mounding soil around the septic tank or the overflow area.
  3. Apply hydrated lime. The property owner must apply hydrated lime to the land area affected by the sewage overflow.
  4. Repair or Replace the Septic System. The property owner must secure the services of a Disposal System Contractor to repair or replace the septic tank or septic system.
  5. Collapsed Tanks Need Restricted Access. Septic tanks are classified as a confined space. The property owner must restrict access to the septic tank by placing an acceptable cover material (i.e., plywood with cinder blocks) on top of the septic tank and by roping off access to the septic tank.

What if I fail to comply?

If a property owner fails to comply, this constitutes a violation of the Anne Arundel County Property Maintenance Code, Section 15-4-303, and is subject to civil fines of $125 for the first violation, $500 for the second violation and $1,000 for the third or any subsequent violation. Citations may be issued for each violation and for each day the violation continues to exist.

Should I conserve water until my system is repaired or replaced?

Yes. The Department of Health recommends that you conserve use of household water until your septic system is repaired or replaced. Washing machines, automatic dishwashers and use of water conditioning equipment devices that backwash to your septic system place a load on your septic system that will increase the need for additional septic tank pump-outs. Consider using a shower instead of a bath, washing dishes by hand and using an alternate location for washing laundry until your septic system is repaired or replaced.

Where can I get more information?

If you have additional questions, contact:

Sanitary Engineering Program
Anne Arundel County Department of Health
3 Harry S. Truman Parkway
Annapolis, Maryland 21401

View more information on Sanitary Engineering