Skip to main content

Service Area Category Changes


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. 


The Status Change Process


Types of Processes

Administrative Process

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:

  1. 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.)

  2. 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. 

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. The Director reviews the recommendations and finalizes the administrative action. 

  6. All interested parties are notified of the amendments.

  7. 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. 


How to Prepare for Your Public Hearing

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:



Schedule and Completed Actions

Application Hearing Schedule

The following provides information on the current or most recent administrative delegation and County Council hearing groups.  The administrative group starts immediately below and the County Council follows thereafter.

Current Administrative Review Packet

AD 2017-2 Administrative Packet

This administrative hearing will include the following map and text amendments:

  • 17-OLN-01A at 18111 Bowie Mill Rd., Olney: by Mark W. & Thanhtam T. Miller for public water service.
  • 17-TRV-04A at 14205 Marian Dr., Rockville: by Cheryl Hays for public sewer service.​
  • 17-GBG-01A at 20101 Watkins Mill Rd., Gaithersburg: by Wayne Gilman for public water and sewer service.


Public Hearing Schedule

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”.

Planning Board Hearing and Work Session

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


Current County Council Review Packet

County Executive’s April 2017 Category Change Packet and Transmittal

South Overlea Drive Septic Survey:

​This category change packet differs from the typical packet in that it includes only one recommended category map amendment, WSCCR 17-TRV-07G (Mont. Co. DEP), for properties along Overlea Dr. and Watts Branch Dr. in the Glen Hills Section 2 and Potomac Highlands subdivisions.  WSCCR 17-TRV-07G addresses requests from nine property owners for septic survey of their neighborhood due to the condition and age of their septic systems.  The survey was conducted by the County’s Departments of Environmental Protection and Permitting Services.  The results of the septic survey have led to the Executive’s service recommendations provided in WSCCR 17-TRV-07G.  Use the preceding links to review and download copies of the Executive staff packet, the survey report and the related technical appendix.  


Public Hearing and Worksession Schedule


  • Date/Time: To be announced
  • Location: Seventh Floor Hearing Room, Council Office Building, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville
  • Please check the Council’s agenda for the scheduling of and additional information about this item, including the County Council staff packet.

  • Date/Time: To to be announced. 
  • Location: Third Floor Hearing Room, Council Office Building, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville
  • Please check the Council’s agenda for the scheduling of and additional information about this item, including the County Council staff packet.    

  • Tentative Date/Time:  To be announced. Please check the Council’s agenda for the date and time for this item. 
  • Location: Third Floor Hearing Room, Council Office Building, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville

View "Completed Actions" below to see recent Council resolutions for the Water and Sewer Plan.
Learn more about the public hearing process





Go Top