REAL ESTATE REPORT
LAUREN BUNTING ¦ Contributing Writer
Department of the Environment finalized regulations requiring almost all new construction and many property renovations to use BAT systems (Best Available Technology), which utilizes an enhanced nitrogen removal process that is more costly than traditional septic systems.
Despite strong opposition during public hearings, the MDE decided to pass the BAT regulation, which covers the following:
¦ All new construction in either the Chesapeake Bay or Coastal Bays Watershed
¦ New construction in any watershed of a nitrogen-impaired body of water
¦ Replacement systems for existing property located in the Critical Areas of the Chesapeake Bay or Coastal Bays Watershed. (Furthermore, MDE defines building renovations that require expansion of any current septic system as new construction.)
The BAT systems are on average $8,000-$12,000 more than conventional septic systems. And, because all new BAT systems are required to follow predetermined maintenance and operation procedures, there are additional ongoing annual costs to property owners of $300 a year for the service agreement and increased monthly electrical costs about $30 a month.
The increased cost imposed by these regulations are expected to further delay a strong recovery of new home construction, and severely burden existing homeowners who need replacement systems, both in critical areas and non-critical areas. The Maryland Association of Realtors opposed these regulations because of concern over the extreme costs.
— Lauren Bunting is a member of
the Coastal Association of Realtors
and a licensed REALTOR® with
Bunting Realty, Inc. in Berlin.