The legislation would require new subdivisions of five homes or more to install a shared waste system with new technology designed to reduce nitrogen pollution, or connect to a public sewer system. Existing septic systems leech nitrogen pollution into waterways causing dead zone in the bay.
"Currently septic systems are responsible for 8 percent of Maryland's nitrogen pollution in the bay," O'Malley says. "If we do nothing, that 8 percent will increase by 34 percent."
Maryland state Sen. EJ Pipkin represents the eastern shore. He says there are existing procedures to deal with sewer runoff making this bill unnecessary.
"This bill's about a power grab by the Maryland department of the environment, and the Maryland department of planning to strip local control of zoning decision throughout the state," Pipkin says.
The proposed shared systems are expected to cost approximately $12,000 more than a conventional septic system.