Skip to main content

County Water & Sewer Plan

 

All of us need fresh water every day. We drink it, bathe in it, cook and clean with it, and play in it. We use it to put out fires, build, landscape, cultivate, experiment, and manufacture. Then, the water we have used, now wastewater, requires safe, effective ways to dispose of, recycle, or reuse it that protect human health and the environment.  The County uses a combination of public and private water and sewerage systems to accomplish these goals.

A plan to coordinate and maintain these services is an essential part of the County's responsibilities to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of its citizens. 

 

 

The County periodically prepares a comprehensive update of the Water and Sewer Plan. The draft of the 2017 update is currently under consideration by the County Council. Use the following link to see more information about the update and to see the draft document.

 

Background and Process

In Maryland, the planning and coordination for sanitary services are delegated from the state to each county government. The Montgomery County government addresses this responsibility through the Ten-Year Comprehensive Water Supply and Sewerage Systems Plan (Water and Sewer Plan), which ensures that existing and future water supply and wastewater disposal needs are coordinated in a manner that:

  • Is timely and cost-effective

  • Is well integrated with land use planning efforts

  • Protects the health, safety, and welfare of residents, businesses, and institutions

  • Protects the quality of the environmental resources of the county, the state, and the Chesapeake Bay region

  • Helps to improve the quality of the environmental resources of the county, state, and region


View and download sections of the Ten-Year Comprehensive Water Supply and Sewerage Systems Plan

The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) requires the County to prepare a comprehensive update of the Water and Sewer Plan every three years. Between comprehensive updates, the County approves amendments to the plan (such as service area categories, new or revised policies, and technical information) through procedures described in Chapter 1 of the plan. Under state law, the County Council is responsible for approving the plan and its amendments.

The County Executive, acting through the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), prepares the plan's comprehensive updates and also provides recommendations to the Council for action on proposed amendments.

DEP, with the assistance of other agencies, develops some amendments, typically those that involve policy issues or affect groups of properties. Property owners also propose amendments, usually those involving single properties or larger tracts intended for subdivision of new lots. 

 

Purpose and Function of the Plan

The Water and Sewer Plan is a functional master plan for providing water and sewer services throughout Montgomery County. As such, it provides an important link between the County's land use and development planning and the actual construction of the water supply and sewerage systems needed to implement that planning effort.

The Water and Sewer Plan establishes policies that support the goals and objectives of the  County's General Plan,  On Wedges and Corridors , and its related local area sector and master plans. These policies emphasize:

  • The use of public water and sewerage systems along higher-density urban and suburban development areas

  • The use of individual, on-site wells, and septic systems throughout lower-density suburban, rural, and agricultural areas

The plan's policies are implemented in part by assigning  water and sewer service area categories for all properties within the County. The service area categories:

  • Designate whether properties are intended to be developed using (and are eligible for) public or private service

  • Provide staging elements or a sequence for planning and providing public service

The plan provides information on the County's existing water supply and sewerage systems from beginning to end. It includes everything from the point where raw water is drawn from a surface water body or groundwater supply, through delivery and use by the consumer, to the final treatment and disposal or reuse of wastewater effluent.

The plan provides projections for the future needs of water and sewerage systems, which result from land use planning studies, demographic projections, legal mandates, and policy requirements. It addresses these needs using a variety of approaches, such as:

  • New, expanded, or replacement water and sewer facilities, such as transmission mains, pumping stations, storage tanks, or treatment plants

  • Expansion of existing water or sewerage systems, or the use of alternative systems, to address communities experiencing public health problems from failing wells or septic systems

  • New or updated programs and service policies that address issues like changes in sanitary service technology, support for new development concepts and protection from undesired sanitary system expansion or on-site system use.

 

Contents of the County Water and Sewer Plan

The content of the current update of the  Comprehensive Water Supply and Sewerage Systems Plan, which is specified by state laws and regulations, is as follows:

  • Introduction ( PDF, 14.1MB)

  • Chapter 1: Objectives and Policies ( PDF, 15.4MB)   provides the legal requirements for the plan; the County's overall objectives for water and sewer service; the policies addressing the provision of water and sewer service by both public systems and private on-site systems; and the procedures and organizational roles through which the County and state adopt, amend, and administer the plan.  

  • Chapter 2: General Background  ( PDF, 29MB)   provides background information on Montgomery County's natural and man-made environment relevant to the provision of water and sewer service by both public and individual systems.

  • Chapter 3: Water Supply Systems ( PDF, 34.1MB)   provides information on the County's existing water supply systems and on planning efforts to ensure that the County's mid- and long-term water supply needs will be satisfied in a manner consistent with public policy and the plan's objectives. Regional planning issues, as they relate to the County, are also addressed.

  • Chapter 4: Sewerage Systems provides information on the County's existing sewerage systems and on planning efforts to ensure that the County's mid- and long-term sewerage needs are and will be satisfied in a manner consistent with public policy and the plan's objectives. Regional planning issues, as they relate to the County, are also addressed. Chapter 4 is provided in three separate download documents:

  • Glossary ( PDF, 292KB)

  • Appendix A ( PDF, 6.7MB) - Capital Improvement Program Projects

  • Appendices B-D ( PDF, 3.6MB) - Large Capacity Private Systems (B), Population and Employment Forecasts (C), and Agency Information (D)

  • Council Resolution ( PDF, 1.1MB)

  • Water Categories Map ( PDF, 2.3MB)

  • Sewer Categories Map ( PDF, 2.2MB)

Water and Sewer Service Area Category Maps provide the  service area category designations  established in the plan for each property in the County.

 

2017 Draft Water and Sewer Plan Update

Scroll down this page to see the public hearing and meeting schedule for consideration of the 2017 Plan update.

INFORMATION ABOUT CHANGES FOR THE DATE AND TIME OF THE COUNTY COUNCIL’S PUBLIC HEARING ARE PROVIDED BELOW.

Over the course of time, the policies and information included in the Water and Sewer Plan require a comprehensive update. The County Executive has recommended the 2017 draft Water and Sewer Plan to the County Council as such a comprehensive update. This update also includes all map and text amendments adopted in the interim since the current Plan’s adoption (see above).

  • County Executive’s March 7, 2017, Transmittal to the County Council

  • Summary of Changes and Major Updates

  • Executive Summary

  • Chapter 1: Objectives and Policies provides legal requirements; overall objectives for water and sewer service; of water and sewer service policies for both public and individual onsite systems; and procedures for administration of the Plan.

  • Chapter 2: General Background provides information on the county's natural and man-made environment relevant to the provision of water and sewer service.

  • Chapter 3: Water Supply Systems addresses the County's existing water supply systems and County, State, and regional planning efforts to ensure that mid-term and long-term water supply needs will be satisfied in a manner consistent with public policy and the plan's objectives.

  • Chapter 4: Sewerage Systems addresses the County's existing wastewater disposal systems and County, State, and regional planning efforts to ensure that mid-term and long-term wastewater system needs will be satisfied in a manner consistent with public policy and the plan's objectives.

  • Appendix A: Glossary

  • Appendix B: Multiuse Systems inventories: existing and approved large-capacity onsite water supply and wastewater systems.

  • Appendix C: Exceptional Service Policy Areas

  • Appendix D: Agency Information

  • Appendix E: Major Facilities and Institutions

  • Water Service Area Categories Map

  • Sewer Service Area Categories Map

Water and Sewer Plan Update Schedule: Public Hearing and Worksessions

COUNTY COUNCIL PUBLIC HEARING
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE COUNCIL HAS CHANGED THE SCHEDULE FOR THIS PUBLIC HEARING.

 

PLANNING BOARD DISCUSSION AND ACTION

  • Date/Time: Thursday, May 11, 2017 – morning agenda
  • Location: Maryland – National Capital park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) Auditorium, First Floor, 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring
  • For the M-NCPPC staff packet, please check the Planning Board’s agenda webpage starting on Friday, May 5th: see http://montgomeryplanningboard.org/agendas/.

 

T&E COMMITTEE WORKSESSION

 

FULL COUNCIL WORKSESSION:

  • Date/Time: (Date & time to be announced.)
  • Location: Third Floor Hearing Room, Council Office Building, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville
  • (To be posted or linked when available) View the County Council staff packet for this meeting.

FULL COUNCIL ACTION:

  • Date/Time: (Date & time to be announced.).
  • Location: Third Floor Hearing Room, Council Office Building, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville
  • (To be posted or linked when available) View the County Council staff packet for this meeting.

 

Service Planning Coordination with Land Use Planning

Coordination between the Water and Sewer Plan and local area master plans and sector plans is crucial to the development planning and water/sewer planning processes. Master and sector plans direct the character, pattern and density of development in the County's communities. The level of coordination between master plans and water/sewer service planning varies. A sector plan for downtown Bethesda, an area served exclusively by public systems, will address water and sewer service issues minimally. However, the approved master plan for Damascus, where the boundaries between areas recommended for service by public utilities as opposed to private water and sewer systems have changed, addresses the subject at greater length. For master plan areas such as Damascus, DEP staff members are usually involved in the master plan development, review, and approval process from the early stages. 

 

 
 
 
 
Go Top