Water and sewer service area categories established in the County’s Water and Sewer Plan serve in part to designate where the County has planned either for public water or sewer service or for private wells and septic systems.
A property owner will file a request with DEP to change a property’s service area categories most often in order to allow for public water or sewer service for a property currently planned to use onsite wells and septic systems. DEP receives category change requests from a variety of applicants, including: owners of properties looking for service for an existing house, development interests planning multiple-lot subdivisions, and places of worship planning to relocate to a larger site.
This page has instructions for filing a category change request application with DEP. All category change request applications proceed through an intake, review, and decision process, as explained below.
To apply to change an existing service area category for a particular property, follow these steps:
Fill out the Water/Sewer Category Change Request Form (.doc, 303KB). You may find that your County property tax bill and the Maryland Real Property database is useful for finding the information you'll need to complete the form. Click for instructions and information about the application (.doc, 162KB).
Calculate the fee from the information and instructions packet (see the last link under step 1).
Take your payment and two (2) copies of the application fee receipt (.doc, 104KB) in person to the Treasury Department at 255 Rockville Pike, Suite L-15, Rockville, MD 20850 (the same building as the Department of Environmental Protection). Hours: 8:00-4:30 Monday-Friday. Be sure to get your copy of the application fee receipt stamped to show that the Treasury Department received your payment .
Take the stamped receipt and the application upstairs to the DEP office.
New: FY 2017 Second Quarter Applications (PDF , 7.3MB)
FY 2017 First Quarter Applications (PDF , 675KB)
FY 2016 Fourth Quarter Applications (PDF , 640KB)
FY 2016 Third Quarter Applications (PDF , 10.18MB)
DEP staff consider agency comments along with and internal review and develop recommendations that will determine which of two tracks the application follow. All applications go through either an administrative process review or a County Council process review. By default, category change requests—as amendments to the County's Water and Sewer Plan—are intended to be considered by the County Council, as provided for under state law.
In the mid-1980s however, the Council found itself having to address many requests of a fairly routine nature. In response, the Council developed and adopted the administrative delegation process for approving noncontroversial category change requests. Under limited circumstances, the executive branch of the County government (through the Director of DEP) acts on category change requests through the administrative process review. DEP may act to approve or conditionally approve an amendment or to defer an amendment to the Council for its process review. The Director's authority is discretionary. The Director of DEP may also defer action on any potential administrative amendment to the County Council. The majority of category change request applications are now addressed through the administrative process.
If your property is currently served by well and/or septic and you'd like to request public water and sewer, but your property is not in the correct category for public water and/or sewer, you must fill out a water and sewer category change application.
The property's category is available as a data layer on a map. Follow these step-by-step directions to use the County's interactive MapViewer to locate your property address and check its water and sewer category.
The definitions of the water and sewer categories are spelled out in the category designations and definitons table.
You can search the Maryland Real Property database and display your property records at the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation site.
Please refer to the About the Administrative Process or the About the Council Process sections below. If you aren’t sure which track your application is under, please contact DEP staff. Then, follow the instructions found for each process.
The length of time it takes for the application to be processed depends on both the date the application is submitted and the nature and details of the application. If your category change request is going through the administrative process review, DEP will schedule a public hearing typically within four to seven months from the date of application to DEP. If your property is going through a County Council process review, the Council will schedule a public hearing typically within five to ten months from the date of application to DEP.
You may usually reapply 1 year after the date of your application denial. Before reapplying, it's useful to see if anything has changed since your initial application, such as the proximity of water and sewer lines, the zoning, or the intended sewer service envelope for the County. Also contact DEP at email@example.com for an explanation of why your request was denied or if there have been significant changes in the area of interest.
After you've met the conditions, you must notify DEP and provide documentation proving that the conditions have been met. A final approval memo for the category change will be sent to you.
For further assistance, contact the Department of Environmental Protection at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 240.777.7700.
To qualify for the administrative process, a category change request must satisfy the requirements of one of several individual service policies in the County's Water and Sewer Plan:
Consistent with Water and Sewer Plan policies and master plan recommendations
Intended to relieve a public health problem for a single property resulting from a failing well and/or septic system
Seeking public service for single properties that abut and predate an existing or approved water or sewer main
Seeking public service for government buildings and facilities
Seeking the approval of large-capacity (multiuse) on-site systems, typically for commercial or institutional uses
To complete the administrative process review, DEP staff develop recommendations on the case and must get the concurrence of the Montgomery County Planning Board and the individual members of the County Council. DEP conducts four administrative hearings each year.
Application requests that go through the administrative process are reviewed as follows:
DEP provides a notice of the public hearing to State and County agencies at least 30 days in advance of the hearing date. DEP also publishes a notice of the hearing in The Sentinel, at least 10 days prior to the hearing. (These notices satisfy the State’s requirements for the hearing process.)
DEP provides hearing notices to each of the category change request applicants via email. In addition, DEP mails postcards announcing the administrative hearing date to all property owners next to and adjoining and confronting the request site, and to civic organizations registered with the County in the vicinity of the request site.
The Montgomery County Planning Board meets to consider Planning Department staff recommendations on the administrative applications, accept testimony, and approve a recommendation to the DEP Director.
DEP holds an administrative public hearing at which time questions can be answered and testimony (verbal or written) is accepted for the applications in that administrative group.
When the hearing record is closed and all public testimony has been taken into consideration, applications that may be approved administratively are recommended to the Director of the Department of Environmental Protection as amendments to the Water and Sewer Plan. County Council staff notify DEP concerning the concurrence of the individual Council members with the proposed administrative action.
The Director reviews the recommendations and finalizes the administrative action.
All interested parties are notified of the amendments.
The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) is notified of the amendments and has a 90-day review period. MDE then notifies DEP of its concurrence with or disapproval of the administrative action.
Note that administrative approval of each request application requires the concurrence of the Planning Board as a body, each of the nine Council members, and the DEP Director. DEP defers applications lacking this concurrence to the County Council for consideration.
Review the DEP staff recommendation and staff report made available to you for your case. Contact DEP staff if you have any questions. You may submit written testimony about your application to the Director of the Department of Environmental Protection, 255 Rockville Pike, Suite 120, Rockville, MD 20850. All testimony must be submitted before the hearing record closing date.
The closing date for each public hearing is provided in the hearing notice provided by DEP. Hearings held at DEP’s offices are accessible to handicapped individuals. Interpreter services for hearing impaired citizens may be guaranteed subject to at least five business days notice.
For further assistance, contact DEP staff in the Water Supply and Wastewater Policy Group:
Alan Soukup at email@example.com or 240-777-7716
George Dizelos at firstname.lastname@example.org
Category changes requests for the County Council process review typically include applications that are:
Recommended for denial because of their inconsistency with water and sewer service policies and/or master plan service recommendations
Recommended for deferral of the Council's action, usually for the completion of another decision process, such as a master plan update, special exception application, or Water and Sewer Plan policy issue
Found to have some level of controversy involved, which may result from some aspect of providing water or sewer service or another related issue such as the proposed site development
Found to have significant differences between agency recommendations
Needed to address an area-wide public health problem resulting from failing wells and/or septic systems
Application requests that go through the County Council are reviewed as follows:
DEP plans for two County Council sessions each year—one in the spring and one in the fall.
DEP provides recommendations for each request application for the County Executive’s consideration, then transmits the Executive’s recommendations to the County Council. Council and DEP staff provide public notifications of the Council’s public hearing.
Council staff assembles a packet of water and sewer category requests with staff recommendations, Planning Board recommendations, the executive branch's recommendations, and any public testimony. This packet is given to the County Council, which then formally establishes a public hearing date.
The County Council holds the public hearing of which State and County agencies are notified at least 30 days in advance. DEP will also provide hearing notices to the applicants and other interested parties.
The Planning Board also meets to hear public testimony on the Council-bound applications, ask any questions, and prepare a recommendation for the County Council's Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy, and Environment (T&E) Committee meeting.
The County Council's T&E Committee reviews the applications and offers its recommendations in the form of a draft resolution to the full Council for consideration. (This typically occurs two to four weeks after the public hearing.)
The County Council meets in full session to review the applications, testimony, and recommendations from all agencies and committees and votes on the draft resolution (typically two or three weeks after the committee meeting).
A final resolution is put together for the Council. (This takes one week.)
All interested parties are notified of the resolution by email.
The resolution is sent to the Maryland Department of the Environment for review and final approval. MDE has a 90-day review period.
Council hearings are held at The Council Office Building (COB), located at 100 Maryland Ave., between Fleet St. and E. Jefferson St. (Route 28), in Rockville. Parking in the adjacent COB Garage is free after 6:00 p.m.
To testify at the public hearing, please call the Council Office at 240-777-7803 in advance of the hearing. Do not call DEP to sign up to testify. Council office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. If time permits, those who have not already reserved a spot on the speakers' list may be heard at the end of the hearing; give your name to the Council Secretary when you arrive. You may cede your time to another speaker; however, you must be present at the hearing to do so.
The Council's Transportation and Environment Committee usually conducts Water and Sewer Plan hearings. An individual's time is usually limited to three (3) minutes; Council members may ask subsequent questions of the speakers. When testifying, please state your name and address for the hearing record. To present written copies of your testimony at the hearing, please bring at least three (3) but preferably 12 copies, and provide them to the Council secretary before the hearing begins.
Because of limitations both on the number of speakers and their speaking time, the Council also accepts written testimony, which becomes part of the official hearing record, and is given the same consideration as oral testimony. Call the Council Office to confirm the closing date for the hearing record. Address written testimony as follows:
You can view the dates of category change request hearings, set by Council staff, on the County Council website ( check the Council Agenda and the Committee Agenda). The Council staff packet of information for both upcoming and past meetings is available under Packets and Meeting Summaries. The Public Participation section of the County Council website provides detailed information about the application process and how to participate. For additional information, call the Council Office at 240-777-7900; staff there will send you the appropriate information. DEP staff can also help with background material and information.
The hearing provides the Council members an opportunity to hear testimony from the public and the applicants. They will not act on the amendments at that time. Following the hearing, the T&E Committee will hold a work session to consider the testimony provided and the agency recommendations on each amendment. They will develop a draft resolution for the full Council to consider. The Council will subsequently hold a worksession to consider the Committee's draft resolution. The Council may choose to approve, conditionally approve, deny, or defer an individual request as part of their action. A week or two after the work session, the full Council will take a final vote on the resolution to amend the Plan.
The Planning Board considers recommendations from Maryland - National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M NCPPC) staff and testimony on the proposed amendments. The Board will send its recommendations to the Council as part of the hearing record. For a copy of the Board's agenda or additional information, visit the Planning Board's website or contact Katherine Nelson in the M NCPPC Environmental Planning Unit at 301-495-4622 or by email at Katherine.Nelson@mncppc-mc.org.
This administrative hearing will include the following map and text amendments:
17-TRV-03A at 11801 Stoney Creek Rd., Potomac: by J. Liu for public sewer service.
Date/Time: Wednesday, March 8, 2017, at 2:00 p.m.
Location: DEP, 255 Rockville Pike, Suite #120, Rockville, MD 20850
DEP expects to close the hearing record at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 15, 2017, with two exceptions*. All written testimony must be received by DEP by the specified date and time. Submit written testimony to “Lisa Feldt, Director; DEP; 255 Rockville Pk., Suite 120; Rockville MD 20850-4166”.
The County Planning Board will consider M-NCPPC staff recommendations for these map amendments and take public testimony if offered. The Board will then forward its recommendations to DEP as part of the administrative hearing process. Please refer to the Planning Board’s website for information on providing testimony, for agenda details, and for the M-NCPPC staff report.
Planned Date: Thursday, February 23, 2017
Time: Refer to the Board’s posted agenda (see the link above) starting on February 17, 2017
Location: M-NCPPC Montgomery Regional Office; 8787 Georgia Ave., First Floor Auditorium, Silver Spring
The Executive’s packet includes the following requested category map amendments:
WSCCR 15-GWC-01A (St. John Neumann Catholic Parish) at 20701 Goshen Rd. & 9001 Warfield Rd., Gaithersburg: for public sewer service.
WSCCR 16-OLN-02A (Akbari) at 17131 Old Baltimore Rd., Olney: for public water and sewer service.
WSCCR 09A-TRV-02 (Smart) at 13101 Valley Dr., Rockville: for public sewer service.
WSCCR 15-TRV-01A (Lau) at 12100 Glen Rd., Rockville: for public sewer service.
WSCCR 15-TRV-04A (Geringer) at 13005 Foxden Dr., Rockville: for public sewer service.
The following table includes category change actions completed within the past two years. For information on prior actions not shown, please contact DEP-WWPG staff (240-777-7716 or email@example.com).
AD 2015-1 Advance Action: WSCCR 15-CLO-02A (10/23/15) ( PDF , 3.62MB)
April 2015 Co. Exec. Transmittal Packet: Resolution 18-217 (7/21/15) (PDF, 2.15MB)
December 2014 Co. Exec. Transmittal Packet (Ten Mile Creek Watershed (Clarksburg) Category Change Amendment) Resolution 18-66 (2/24/15) (PDF, 10.5MB)
WSCCR 17-PAX-01C/correction, Burtonsville Town Square (1/20/17) (PDF, 8.27MB)
WSCCR 16-OLN-01C/correction, Akbari Property (11/3/15) (PDF, 8.27MB)