Legislators Considering Bill Dealing With Well Water Safety

It would set up a private well water safety program within the Md. Department of the Environment.

State Senator Karen Lewis Young

Annapolis, Md (KM) The 2023 Maryland General Assembly is considering a bill dealing  with well water safety. The legislation sponsored by Frederick County Delegate Karen Lewis Young would establish a private well water safety program within the Maryland Department of the Environment. Lewis Young says MDE would manage a fund to address the contamination of private water supplies.

“It awards grants to counties if the county wants to participate,” she says. “If the county doesn’t want to participate, an individual with a private well could still request funds to test their water.”

They could also receive grants to make any remediation if the well water is found to be contaminated.

Senator Lewis Young says the legislation would require a database be set up to keep track of well water around Maryland. Also, anyone who wants to sell a parcel of land with a private well, the well must tested as a condition of sale.  .

There has been a lot of water contamination in private wells, according to Lewis Young. “I saw a map recently, and it is particularly strong in the Eastern Shore and in Allegany County,” she says. Lewis Young says a lot of nitrate is running off farms and contaminating the water.

Consuming this water could lead to health problems. “Breathing problems to cancer which is quite prevalent. In fact, where we’re seeing greater contamination there is evidence of more cancers,”: says Senator Lewis Young. “And it also causes a fatal illness in infants by interfering with the ability to breathe.”

The Private Well Safety Act of 2023 underwent a hearing before the Senate Education, Energy and Environment Committee on February 15th.

A similar bill is making its way through the House of Delegates. The legislation, sponsored by Delegate Vaughn Stewart of Montgomery County, underwent a hearing before the House Environment and Transportation Committee on January 27th.

By Kevin McManus