[HISTORY: Adopted by the County Council of Talbot County 10-11-1994 by Bill No. 559. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Enforcement of Code — See Ch. 58.
Fees — See Ch. 64.
Sanitary District — See Ch. 138.
Sanitary sewer construction districts — See Ch. 139.
Septic systems — See Ch. 146.
Sewer system — See Ch. 148.
Shared sanitary facilities — See Ch. 152.
In accordance with the Septage Management Plan, this chapter establishes the provisions and procedures for licensing septage treatment and disposal in Talbot County and requires that all septage generated in Talbot County be disposed of at a facility permitted by the Maryland Department of the Environment.
This chapter is not intended to authorize disposal of industrial wastewater, by-products, sludge, or sewage sludge at any facility in Talbot County.
The provisions of this chapter shall apply throughout Talbot County, including the incorporated municipalities, except the provisions shall not apply to septage treatment facilities owned by political subdivisions or governmental bodies or agencies. There shall be no other exclusions to the applicability of the provisions herein.
For the purpose of this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings given herein:
- COMPREHENSIVE WATER AND SEWERAGE PLAN
- The comprehensive plan, and all amendments and revisions to it, for the protection of surface, ground, and tidal water resources and the provision of adequate water supply and sewerage systems, including septage disposal facilities, whether publicly or privately owned, throughout Talbot County, Maryland, including the incorporated municipalities.
- The political subdivision of Talbot County, Maryland, or its governing body, the County Council of Talbot County, Maryland.
- The Maryland Department of the Environment.
- The nonexclusive right granted by the County to own, operate and maintain a septage treatment facility within the County. Licenses will be valid for a period of 15 years and will be renewable.
- LICENSE AGREEMENT
- The agreement mutually executed by a licensee and the County for the development, operation and maintenance of a septage treatment facility within the County.
- LICENSE ASSESSMENTS
- Any monetary assessments or collected funds, payable by the licensee to the County, other than the license fee, for costs incurred by the County, or its assigns, in the monitoring of a septage treatment facility.
- LICENSE FEE
- The fee levied by the County, payable by the licensee to the County, for the issuance of a license to operate and maintain a septage treatment facility within the County.
- The person(s), partnership(s), corporation(s), joint venture(s), or organization(s) of any kind, which have been granted a license by the County to operate and maintain a septage treatment facility within the County.
- LICENSING AUTHORITY
- A governmental body or agency, designated by the County Council of Talbot County, to monitor and inspect the management and operation of a septage treatment facility. The licensing authority for septage management in Talbot County shall be the Talbot County Department of Public Works.
- OPERATING PLAN
- Plan showing general maintenance, emergency and safety procedures for all units, components, equipment, processes, and systems.
- Fee simple ownership.
- RESIDENTIAL USER
- A client who receives the service of a user for the removal, collection, and transport of septage from a septic tank or septic system, owned by the client, for delivery to a septage treatment facility.
- SANITARY CONSTRUCTION
- Installation of any septage treatment facility or facilities and all plant appurtenances, structures, site modifications, surveys, evaluations or activities associated with the development of a septage treatment facility.
- Liquid and solid material pumped or removed from chemical toilets, septic tanks, seepage pits, privies, cesspools or holding tanks when the system is cleaned or maintained.
- SEPTAGE HAULER or HAULER
- A person, partnership, corporation, company, or organization of any kind, possessing or required to possess a liquid waste hauler's license (sanitary construction for scavenging license) issued by the Talbot County Health Department authorizing collection and transport of septage to a permitted septage treatment facility.
- SEPTAGE MANAGEMENT PLAN or PLAN
- The plan and any amendments thereto, adopted through enactment by the County Council of Resolution No. 68, an amendment to the Comprehensive Water and Sewerage Plan to include the Septage Management Plan, effective January 11, 1994.
- SEPTAGE SLUDGE
- Any liquid, solid, or liquid/solid mix residue from septage which has been treated by a pathogen reduction process.
- SEPTAGE TREATMENT FACILITY or FACILITIES
- Any on-site installation of equipment, structures, utilities, processes, reserved land areas, buffers, drainage controls or environmental protection devices utilized in the permitted and licensed treatment, storage, handling, disposal and utilization of septage.
- SEPTAGE UTILIZER
- Any person who collects, handles, transports, stores, treats, disposes of, or utilizes septage.
- SERVICE AREA
- Mid-shore region encompassing Kent, Queen Anne's, Caroline, Talbot, and Dorchester Counties, including all incorporated areas therein.
- SEWAGE SLUDGE UTILIZATION PERMIT FOR SEPTAGE or PERMIT
- Permit issued by the Department to a septage utilizer for the collection, handling, burning, storage, treatment, or disposal of septage.
- The disposal by the licensee, directly or indirectly, by gift, assignment, voluntary sale, merger, consolidation or otherwise, of 15% or more of the ownership or licensing interest in the system at one time, or 30% cumulatively over the term of the license of such interests to a corporation, partnership, limited partnership, trust or association, or person or group of persons acting in concert. The term "transfer" shall not apply to or restrict:
- A. Any assignment between any parent and subsidiary corporation or between entities of which at least 50% of the beneficial ownership is held by the same persons; or
- B. The mortgage, pledge, collateral assignment, transfer in trust or grant of a security interest by a licensee to its lenders, and their successors and assigns, of and in a franchise and all rights of the licensee related hereto, to secure any indebtedness or obligations of the licensee with respect to which a security interest has been, or is hereafter, granted, or to the exercise by each of the secured parties of its rights as a secured party in the event of a default by the licensee in the payment or performance of any of the licensee's indebtedness or obligations secured thereby;
- C. Transfer as a result of the licensee's death or incapacitation.
- Any hauler, government entity, corporation, organization, or person who is separately authorized to use a septage treatment facility, to deliver septage for treatment and disposal by a licensee.
It shall be unlawful to construct, operate, or use a septage treatment facility which is not in compliance with the provisions of this chapter.
It shall be unlawful to dispose of septage generated within Talbot County except at a septage treatment facility within the service area which has a valid permit from the Maryland Department of the Environment.
It shall be unlawful to dispose of septage in Talbot County except at a septage treatment facility licensed in accordance with this chapter.
It shall be unlawful to accept septage which was not generated in the service area at a septage treatment facility constructed and operated in accordance with these regulations.
The following authorizations and provisions shall be applicable to the development, operation, and ownership of septage treatment facilities in Talbot County:
An owner may purchase, hold, lease, construct, own, operate, repair, replace, modify, maintain, upgrade, or improve a septage treatment facility only under a license agreement with the County and as permitted by the Maryland Department of the Environment.
The licensing authority may monitor or inspect a septage treatment facility to ensure compliance with the terms and provisions of the license agreement and permit requirements.
The Talbot County Health Department may monitor or inspect a septage treatment facility and make recommendations to the licensing authority to ensure compliance with the terms and provisions of the license agreement and permit requirements.
The licensing authority shall authorize the establishment of septage treatment facilities through the issuance of licenses for the development and operation of said facilities. Such license issuance shall be in conformance with state and federal requirements and all applicable local, state and federal laws, policies, ordinances, and regulations.
The licensing authority shall honor all permits issued for septage treatment facilities by any state agency charged with the issuance of such permits, provided that such facilities comply with Chapter 190, Zoning, Subdivision and Land Development, of the Talbot County Code and the provisions of this chapter. Additional or stricter managerial and/or administrative standards may be adopted by County Council legislative action if determined to be in the best interest of the public.
License application. The licensing authority shall solicit license applications for the establishment of septage treatment facilities as necessary to meet the septage management needs of Talbot County through public advertisement of a request for license applications and nonexclusive processing thereof under the procedure specified herein. After the initial solicitation, license applications will be processed as they are submitted.
Contents of application.
The owner(s) of a property or properties desiring to establish and operate a septage treatment facility must file a written application with the Talbot County Department of Public Works, requesting a license to operate said facility. The application must be endorsed by the notarized signature of all owners of the property and must be accompanied by full payment of all required fees and supporting documentation as specified herein.
The applicant(s) shall provide at their own expense a copy of their permit application, permit, construction cost estimates, operating cost estimates, revenue estimates and special exception approval from the Talbot County Board of Appeals for the proposed facility.
Confidentiality. Pursuant to Md. Code Ann., State Government Art., § 10-617, the County shall deny public inspection of any part of an application that contains commercial or confidential financial information.
Issuance of license. The licensing authority shall approve the application requesting a license for a septage treatment facility only if it is determined that:
The owner of the proposed septage treatment facility holds a valid sewage sludge utilization permit for septage treatment, handling, storage, and disposal from the Department and a special exception from the Talbot County Board of Appeals; and
It is technically and fiscally feasible for the owner of the proposed septage treatment facility to establish, construct, operate and maintain a septage treatment facility in accordance with the provisions hereto and the requirements of all applicable local, state, and federal regulations and legislated policies.
Action following approval. Upon approval by the licensing authority and upon receipt of all fees, permits, certificates of insurance and other documentation required herein, the licensing authority shall:
Enter into a license agreement with the applicant(s) specifying the procedures to be followed in the development, operation and maintenance of the septage treatment facility.
Issue a license for the operation and use of the proposed septage treatment facility.
Process an amendment to the Comprehensive Water and Sewerage Plan to document the approval of the septage treatment facility to be processed during the next regular amendment period.
The license agreement shall be of suitable form, including provisions for fees, technical requirements, attachments, submittals, bonds, and references, to address the following requirements:
Payment of a license fee must be received by the licensing authority upon execution of the license agreement for the proposed septage treatment facility. Annual license fees shall be in accordance with the rate set by the annual Budget and Appropriation Ordinance.
[Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I)]
The license fees shall fund the administrative costs of the licensing authority associated with the establishment, development and monitoring of the septage treatment facility. All fees are nonrefundable.
Permits and licenses:
The owner(s) shall submit copies of all permits required by local, state and federal regulations to develop, use and operate the proposed septage treatment facility for inclusion in the license agreement. At a minimum, a sewage sludge utilization permit for septage will be required.
No owner(s) shall construct, alter or expand a septage treatment facility in the County without having first received a sanitary construction permit from the Talbot County Health Department. No such permit will be issued without approval from the licensing authority.
The owner(s) shall be responsible to renew, extend, and maintain in a current status all permits as required herein. A local license will not be maintained, renewed or extended without required federal and/or state operating permits being valid and current.
The owner(s) shall bear the complete costs for all permits and licenses necessary to develop and operate the septage treatment facility.
All permits and licenses issued by the licensing authority are nontransferable. Transfer of ownership shall be as specified herein.
The licensee shall be responsible for the construction of the septage treatment facility, or any alteration, upgrade, repair, replacement, or expansion thereto, in full compliance with the permit as issued by the Department.
The licensee shall bear the complete cost of construction of the septage treatment facility, including all testing and inspection required during the construction phase by the Department and in the sanitary construction permit.
The licensee shall submit to the licensing authority and the Department, as required, a complete set of plans and specifications for the facility as built.
The approval of any submittal required hereto, by the licensing authority or Department does not exempt the licensee from conformance with other applicable regulations, covenants, contracts, policies, or enforceable provisions, including Critical Area restrictions, the Talbot County Groundwater Protection Plan, tidal and nontidal wetland restrictions, stormwater management regulations, sediment and erosion controls, reforestation requirements, zoning restrictions, and flood zone restrictions.
Prior to authorization by the licensing authority to use and operate the septage treatment facility, the licensee shall submit an operating plan to the licensing authority, including general, maintenance, emergency and safety procedures for the use and operation of all units, components, equipment, processes, and systems. The operating plan shall include manufacturer's and safety data sheets for all major equipment units and identification and telephone listings of all operating personnel. The operating plan shall be revised, updated, or modified as required, to reflect the operational status of the facility. The operating plan shall satisfactorily address all requirements of local, state and federal regulations and permit provisions applicable to the approved septage treatment facility. The operating plan shall be submitted to and approved by the Department and licensing authority as required. The licensee shall bear all costs associated with preparation of the operating plan.
The licensee shall provide operating personnel as required to manage and operate the septage treatment facility in accordance with the permit and license.
The licensee shall assure that a testing and monitoring program is in effect at all times in accordance with the requirements of the permit and license. The services of a certified, independent laboratory shall be contracted as necessary to satisfy said monitoring requirements. Testing reports shall be submitted as required by the Department and licensing authority.
The licensee shall maintain all equipment maintenance and operations manuals, operating plans, safety data sheets, as-built plans, repair parts listings, permits, licenses, and personnel listings, and shall maintain operating files for administrative, personnel, maintenance, operation, inventory, and accounting records, necessary to manage the septage treatment facility. The County shall have the right to inspect, upon reasonable notice during normal business hours, all available books, records, maps, plans, financial statements, complaint logs and other like materials of the licensee relating to the operation of the facility licensed hereunder. Copies of all reports required by the Department as a condition of receiving a permit will also be provided to the licensing authority, upon request. The County may impose reasonable requests for additional information, records and documents from time to time.
The licensee shall assure that the septage treatment facility is continuously managed, operated, and maintained in full compliance with the requirements of the permit and license in effect and all applicable local, state, and federal regulations.
Should any changes or deviations from the operating plan or as-built conditions of the septage treatment facility occur or be considered, the licensee shall notify the licensing authority prior to implementation of such changes or deviations and provide any necessary amendments to the license agreement or permit.
Service shall be provided fairly and uniformly to all septage haulers with valid liquid waste haulers' licenses (sanitary construction for scavenging licenses) issued by the Talbot County Health Department.
The licensee shall use its best efforts to collect all delinquent accounts. Service will not be refused to any delinquent hauler if said hauler agrees at any time to be placed on a mutually agreed-upon payment plan to clear the account. In all cases, the licensee shall provide the hauler and the licensing authority with at least 10 working days' written notice prior to the refusal of service.
The licensee shall maintain a listing of all complaints received concerning the operation of the facility. The licensee shall respond to and resolve complaints as quickly as possible. All complaints not resolved within 10 working days will be reported to the licensing authority.
Permission for access and entry to all components of the septage treatment facility for purposes of inspecting, testing, monitoring, or observing shall be granted at any time during the development, construction, start-up, operation, correction, repair, replacement, or alteration of the facility to the Department, Talbot County Health Department, or licensing authority, or their agents, officials, designees or representatives.
Private ownership. All septage treatment facilities planned, approved, established, constructed and operated hereunder shall remain in the private ownership of the licensee except as provided in Subsections B or E. Nothing herein shall be claimed to create a joint venture or agency relationship between the County and any licensee. Neither party shall act toward third persons in a manner which would indicate such a relationship.
County-owned facilities. The County is authorized to and reserves the right to purchase, acquire, or construct a septage treatment facility when, in its best judgment, it is necessary in order to provide adequate capacity for septage treatment as specified in the plan or is otherwise necessary or expedient to protect the public health, safety, or welfare.
Transfer. Any transfer of ownership as defined in § 145-2 herein of any licensed septage treatment facility shall require advance written approval of the licensing authority before transfer of the license or the facility. A transfer shall not take place before the proposed new owner obtains all required permits and provides all required certificates of insurance and other documents required in §§ 145-5 and 145-9 herein. A transfer shall not take place until the licensing authority determines, based on satisfactory evidence provided by the proposed transferee, that the proposed new owner is qualified and capable to maintain and operate the facility in a proper and legal manner.
Abandonment. It shall be unlawful for any licensee of a septage treatment facility to abandon said facility or cease to operate and maintain it without providing written notice to the licensing authority at least one year prior to the termination of operation.
Condemnation. The County may acquire any septage treatment facility by eminent domain when, in its judgment, such action is necessary to promote or protect the public health, safety, or welfare. The County may operate, transfer, sell, lease, or otherwise convey or dispose of any such septage treatment facility so acquired when, in its judgment, such action would promote the public health, safety, or welfare.
Prior to the issuance of a license for a septage treatment facility, the applicant shall provide to the licensing authority such financial assurances in the form of bonds, deposits, escrow accounts, letters of credit, sureties, insurance or other securities as necessary to assure the financial stability of the project through construction, start-up and operation. The applicant will provide the following:
Insurance. Suitable certificates of insurance, approved by the licensing authority, under the conditions and for all types of insurance specified below:
Insurance shall remain in effect for the duration of the license and any extensions or renewals thereof.
All insurance costs shall be funded by the licensee through user charges for the septage treatment facility.
The licensee shall immediately advise the County of any litigation that may develop that would affect the facility's insurance coverage.
Neither the provisions of this section nor any damages recovered by the County hereunder shall be construed to limit the liability of the licensee.
All insurance policies maintained pursuant to this license provision shall contain the following, or a comparable endorsement:
All liability insurance policies of the licensee maintained pursuant to this provision shall include the following hold harmless clause:
All insurance policies required under these provisions shall be written by companies authorized to do business in the State of Maryland.
To offset the effects of inflation and to reflect changing liability limits, all of the coverage, limits, and amounts of the insurance provided for herein are subject to review and reasonable adjustments at the end of every three-year period.
The licensee shall maintain and, by its acceptance of any license granted hereunder, specifically agrees that it will maintain throughout the term of the license, general liability insurance, with the County named as a coinsured, in the minimum of:
Such general liability insurance must include coverage for all of the following: comprehensive form, premises, operations, explosion and collapse hazard, underground hazard, products/completed operations hazard, contractual insurance, broad form property damage, and personal injury.
The licensee shall maintain and, by its acceptance of any license granted hereunder, specifically agrees that it will maintain throughout the term of the license, automobile liability insurance for owned, nonowned, or rented vehicles used in conjunction with the operation of the septage treatment facility in the minimum amount of:
The licensee shall maintain and, by its acceptance of any license granted hereunder, specifically agrees that it will maintain throughout the term of the license workers' compensation and employers' liability, valid in the State of Maryland, in the minimum amount of:
The licensee shall, at its sole cost and expense, fully indemnify, defend and hold harmless the County, its officers, boards and commissions, and County employees against any and all claims, suits, actions, liability and judgments for damages (including but not limited to reasonable legal fees and expenses assumed by the County in connection therewith):
To persons or property, in any way arising out of or through the acts or omissions of the licensee, its servants, agents or employees, or to which the licensee's negligence shall have in any way contributed.
Arising out of licensee's failure to comply with the provisions of any federal, state, or local ordinance or regulation applicable to the licensee or its business.
Financial management plan. A financial management plan shall be submitted prior to the issuance of a license for a septage treatment facility with an update provided annually thereafter. The financial management plan shall suitably address all items of cost, revenue, and profit required to construct, operate and maintain the septage treatment facility, including a schedule describing rates and charges of any kind. Pursuant to Md. Code Ann., State Government Art., § 10-617, the County shall deny public inspection of any part of an application that contains confidential commercial or confidential financial information.
Revenues. The licensee shall collect revenues through user charges as necessary to fund all costs associated with the septage treatment facility. The charge for septage disposal at each facility will be set by the licensee, and all revenues will be collected by the licensee. Licensee(s) will file with the licensing authority a schedule describing rates and charges of any kind and all terms and conditions thereto at least 30 days prior to any change. The rates shall be nondiscriminatory and shall be applied fairly and uniformly to all users. Rates shall be reviewed by the licensing authority and the County Council to ensure general conformance with the licensee's financial management plan.
Violations. Violations will be subject to the provisions for correction, enforcement, citation, conviction, and penalty as specified herein. Each calendar day a violation continues shall constitute a separate violation.
Correction. The licensing authority, upon determination that a violation exists, will certify and document each violation and order whatever action necessary to abate or mitigate the violation to ensure compliance with all applicable permits, licenses, and provisions of this chapter. Such order shall be in writing and delivered to the licensee. The licensee shall deliver a written response to the licensing authority within five working days.
Enforcement. If a satisfactory response to the order for correction is not received within five working days, the licensing authority or the Talbot County Health Department may take appropriate enforcement action.
Criminal violations. Willful violation of any of the terms of a license agreement or any of the provisions of this chapter shall be a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000 or imprisonment not to exceed six months for any single offense. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that the continued operation of a septage treatment facility not in compliance with the permit, license agreement, or provisions of this chapter for a period of 30 calendar days following service of an order without corrective action is a willful violation.
Civil infractions. Violation of any of the terms of a license agreement or of the terms of this chapter may, in the discretion of the licensing authority, be prosecuted as a civil infraction. A fine not to exceed $100 per violation may be imposed by the licensing authority for a civil infraction. Procedures for civil infractions shall be the same as those provided in Md. Code Ann., Local Government Art., § 6-102 et seq., as amended from time to time, for the violation of municipal ordinances and resolutions.
[Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I)]
Mandatory injunctive relief, damages, and costs. The licensing authority or the Talbot County Health Department is authorized to seek a mandatory or affirmative injunction to require the licensee or his agents to comply with the terms and provisions of this chapter or the licensing agreement. In addition, and without regard to whether or not a mandatory injunction is requested or issued, the licensee, his agents, and any other person violating the terms of this chapter shall be responsible for all monetary damages caused to the County by the violation, including the costs of enforcement and prosecution, reasonable attorneys' fees, and court costs. All such damages and costs shall be assessed in any civil or criminal enforcement proceeding in which the County prevails.
Remedies cumulative. The remedies provided herein are cumulative and nonexclusive; pursuit of one remedy shall not bar concurrent or subsequent pursuit of additional remedies except as otherwise provided by law.
Any interested person, or person aggrieved by a decision of the licensing authority shall have the right to file an appeal to the Talbot County Board of Appeals in accordance with the procedures for such appeals as specified by Chapter 20, Board of Appeals, of the Talbot County Code, the provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act, Md. Code Ann., State Government Art., § 10-101 et seq., the Maryland Rules of Procedure, or provisions for judicial review as stipulated in the Environment Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland. The Board of Appeals shall have the power to review decisions of the licensing authority pertaining to the issuance, renewal, denial, revocation, suspension, annulment, or modification of any license, permit, approval, exemption, waiver, certificate, registration, or other form of permission or of any adjudicatory order relative to the application or enforcement of this chapter. Any appeal to the Board of Appeals shall not operate as an automatic stay of the order or other decision of the licensing authority which is the subject of such appeal, nor will the pendency of any such appeal affect criminal or civil enforcement actions otherwise undertaken by the licensing authority.
[Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I)]
Any person aggrieved by a decision of the Board of Appeals may appeal to the Circuit Court for Talbot County in accordance with the rules and procedures governing such appeals.
Costs for appeal shall not be allowed against the County unless it shall be determined by the Court that the County, or the licensing authority, acted with gross negligence, in bad faith, capriciously, or with malice in making the appealed decision.
This chapter shall take effect 60 calendar days from the date of its passage, except that the requirements for septage disposal will not be effective until such time as there is at least 20,000 gallons per day capacity for septage generated in Talbot County at licensed septage treatment facilities in operation in Talbot County. Notice of the initial operation of licensed septage treatment facilities will be published by the County in a local newspaper at least once each week for three consecutive weeks, commencing at least 30 days prior to the availability of licensed septage treatment capacity. All septage haulers possessing a liquid waste hauler's license (sanitary construction license for scavenging) valid in Talbot County will be notified by certified mail at least 15 days prior to the opening of each septage treatment facility in Talbot County.