Talbot County Department of Health
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Septic Systems & Sewage

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Onsite Sewage Disposal Systems

The installation of all on-site sewage disposal systems is regulated by the Talbot County Health Department. 

A person may not construct, attempt to construct, or alter an on-site sewage disposal system without first receiving a permit from this office. 

If a licensed septic contractor is proposing to repair/replace an on-site sewage disposal system, they must comply with the requirements of this Office with regards to the submittal of the proposed system design and layout. Contact a Licensed Environmental Health Specialist with this office to inquire as to what detail must be provided with the repair proposal.

No part of an on-site sewage disposal system may be covered or used until it has been inspected and approved by the Talbot County Health Department.

Septic Contractors, Installers, and Service

Septic Systems must be installed by a septic contractor that holds a valid Sanitary Construction license issued by the Talbot County Health Department. 

Licenses for Septic Contractors are issued on an annual basis. Any individual seeking information regarding how to become a licensed septic contractor must contact this office to schedule an appointment with a Licensed Environmental Health Specialist. The prospective contractor must provide verification that they have previously performed sanitary construction work under an experienced licensed septic contractor. All septic contractors must also submit a copy of a plumber’s bond valued at $10,000 at the time of the submittal of their application for licensure as a Sanitary Contractor.

Additionally, if a licensed septic contractor is interested in installing a Best Available Technology (BAT) system, they must have first obtained certification of qualification for the installation of the BAT, which is obtained from the manufacturer of the specific BAT unit that is to be installed. The contractor must also have completed a course of study approved by the Maryland Department of the Environment for the installation of BAT.

Contractors interested in servicing septic systems in Talbot County are required to obtain a license from this office. All Septic Tank Servicing Contractors must provide the name of the approved WWTP/Treatment Facility that will accept septage. Septic tank servicing contractors are required to have their trucks inspected by a local County Health Department prior to the renewal of their annual license.

Soil Site Evaluation (Perc Testing)

The Office of Environmental Health is responsible for conducting soil/site evaluations, also called percolation or perc tests, on parcels of land which are being considered for on-site sewage disposal suitability.

Typically, soil/site evaluations are conducted during the time of the year when the ground water table is at its highest, as indicated by the monitoring of several observation wells located throughout the county. This time of the year is often referred to as the Wet Season Testing period. The length/duration of this testing period is contingent on precipitation and therefore, the length of the wet season testing period will fluctuate in duration from year to year.

Applications for wet season soil/site evaluations must be accompanied by a written report from a soil consultant which delineates a proposed Sewage Disposal Area on the subject land. Please see guidelines/memorandum and list of soil consultants from information provided below.

Each year the Office of Environmental Health sets a deadline for the submission of wet season soil/site evaluation applications. This deadline, which is outlined in the wet season packet, is set to provide time for the applicant to prepare the site for evaluation before the seasonal ground water table impacts the preparation​ of the site for testing/monitoring. 

Anyone interested in learning more about the wet season soil/site evaluation process may contact our office at (410) 770-6880.

Incomplete applications for soil/site evaluations will not be accepted. A completed soil/site evaluation application includes the following:

  • A completed Soil Evaluation Application
  • A detailed soil evaluation/consultant’s report
  • A copy of the property deed indicating when the parcel was created (Note: This requirement is not applicable to applications associated with the subdivision of land.)
  • The required soil/site evaluation fees

Guidelines for 2024 Wet Season Soil Testing

Soil Evaluation Application 

Soil Consultants List

Code of Maryland Regulations – See 26.04.02 for Regulation of Sewage Disposal Regulations

Building Permits

The Office of Environmental Health assists with the review and approval of building permit applications. 

Prior to the submittal of a formal building permit application, it may be beneficial to contact us to discuss the proposed building construction in relation to the information on file associated with the on-site sewage disposal system. This preliminary review/discussion will provide the property owner with insight into the requirements for on-site sewage disposal​ as they relate to the proposed building construction thus enabling the owner to plan accordingly.

After filing an application for building permit with the Talbot County Office of Permits and Inspections, the applicant is advised to provide this office with the following information: 

  • A copy of the building permit application
  • A copy of an accurate to-scale site plan of the property that incorporates all required site data
  • A copy of the building plans of the proposed construction
  • A completed application for sanitary construction, if applicable.

A building permit review fee is assessed based on the value of construction, which is provided on the building permit application. 

The building permit application is reviewed to determine potential impacts to individual water supply wells, and on-site sewage disposal systems. A review of the property record on file with the Office of Environmental Health is also made to assist with the review of the pending building permit application. 

An application for Sanitary Construction must be submitted when a determination has been made that the proposed building construction requires modification, expansion to an existing on-site sewage disposal system, or the installation of a new on-site sewage disposals system. The issuance of a Sanitary Construction Permit then becomes a condition of approval of the building permit.

The status of a building permit can be checked using the Talbot County OpenGov Online Portal.


Talbot County Office of Permits and Inspections

215 Bay Street, Suite 3
Easton, MD 21601

Phone: (410) 770-6840

Bay Restoration Fund

The Bay Restoration Fund (BRF) was created to provide financing for Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts. A portion of the funds was designated to provide homeowners with grant financing for septic system upgrades. An upgrade is the addition of Best Available Technology or “BAT,” for nitrogen removal. Bay Restoration Funds may also be used in association with the costs of connecting a dwelling or business to a public sewer system.

Individual residential property or business owners interested in obtaining more information regarding BRF Grant availability​ should contact the Talbot County Department of Public Works at (410) 770-8170.

Septic Appeal Process

The Administrative Procedure Act (Title 10, Subtitle 2 of the State Government Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland) sets forth the procedures for appealing a final decision issued by the Maryland Department of Environment or an Approving Authority (including local health departments) regarding the grant, denial, renewal suspension or amendment of a license, certificate, charter, permit or registration that is required by statute.

Appeal Process for Well, On-Site Sewage Disposal, Subdivision, and Shared Facility Designs

Contact & Hours

Talbot County Health Department
Office of Environmental Health

215 Bay Street, Suite 4
Easton, MD 21601

Phone: (410) 770-6880
Fax: (410) 770-6888

Hours: Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

After hours, on-call service is provided for emergency situations including, but not limited to the following: pet or human exposure to wildlife, bite or scratch from pets to humans, reports of illegal open burning, and complaints of unlawful discharge of sewage to the ground surface or waters of the State. Staff may be reached after hours by calling the Talbot County Operations Center at (410) 822-0095. The Dispatcher will then contact the staff member on call.