What's New

​New items in the Water Supply Program web page.

With Buildings Preparing to Reopen, It’s Time to Think About Stagnant Water and Health Risks (English Version)

Building closures during a pandemic reduce water use, leading to stagnant water inside plumbing. This water may be unsafe to drink or unsafe to use for other personal or commercial purposes. CDC and EPA recommend that building managers and owners become informed and take necessary steps to flush the building plumbing before reopening. A building reopening and flushing infographic is linked here.


Preventing Water Quality Problems - Reopening Buildings

As Maryland prepares to reopen businesses and offices according to the 'Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery' plan developed by the Hogan Administration in response to COVID-19, and as employees, staff, and visitors of various establishments are getting ready to return, many buildings that were either closed or partially closed due to the pandemic may experience water quality problems due to stagnant water in the premise plumbing.  If your water system service area includes large building customers, MDE encourages you to inform these customers/building owners of some simple measures that can improve the quality of the drinking water in their buildings as normal operations resume.  Below are links to a few documents that provide guidance and information on how to flush a building's stagnant water.
For many large buildings that normally housed office workers, food establishments, manufacturing, and other businesses, the water has remained stagnant in the building's plumbing during the past few months.  The stagnant water in these buildings might increase the risk of bacterial growth, including coliform bacteria and Legionella, in the plumbing.  Furthermore, when the stagnant water is in contact with plumbing (e.g., pipes, fixtures, etc.) for extended periods of time, elevated concentrations of metals, including lead and copper, may develop.  As a preventive measure, MDE's Water Supply Program strongly recommends that the plumbing in each building be flushed prior to the reopening of the business. 
The recommended flushing (please see links below) will help to remove potential bacteria, metals, disinfection by-products, and other contaminants that may have developed as a result of low or no use of water.  These simple preventive actions will help protect the building occupants from unnecessary exposure to water quality problems that may be unsafe for consumption.
Please contact the Water Supply Program at (410) 537-3702 or water.supply@maryland.gov if you have any questions.
Thank you for staying vigilant during the pandemic and continuing to serve your community with the highest quality of drinking water.

Building Flushing Guidance

  1. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Maintaining or Restoring Water Quality in Buildings with Low or No Use

  2. Purdue University Center for Plumbing Safety—Flushing plans

  3. Environmental Science, Policy, and Research Institute—Flushing guidance

  4. Reducing risk to staff who are performing flushing

Other Resources

  1. The United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Guidance for Reopening Buildings After Prolonged Shutdown or Reduced Operation

  2. Association of State Drinking Water Administrators (ASDWA) COVID-19 Resources for Building Water Systems

  3. EPA Water Utility Resources for the COVID-19 Pandemic

  4. American Water Works Association (AWWA) and International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO)—Responding to Stagnation in Buildings with Reduced or No Water Use.

Maryland WARN has free masks for water and wastewater operators

MDE's Water and Science Administration is pleased to announce that Maryland has received 50,000 reusable cloth masks that were procured by FEMA, with the assistance of EPA, for water and wastewater system operators. The cloth masks are 100% cotton (the areas touching skin), are washable and can be reused up to 15 times. There is no cost for the cloth masks, and any drinking water or wastewater utility is eligible to receive 2 per full-time employee.  These masks were distributed to the Chair of MD WARN (Water and Wastewater Agency Response Network), for distribution to Maryland’s water and wastewater systems. Mr. Art Shapiro, the Chair of MD WARN, and Chief of Bureau of Utilities for Howard County, has generously offered his assistance to help get these masks to you.
Please click on the following link and fill in the tracking form to reserve your water system's masks:

COVID-19 Public Water System Compliance Challenges

This form is intended for compliance tracking of systems that either have temporarily closed operations, or systems experiencing difficulties accessing designated compliance sampling sites. This form should be completed if your facility meets one of the criteria mentioned above.

Email the completed form to: Water.Supply@maryland.gov

Water and Wastewater Operators are Essential Workers

Below are a number of links to some of the most respected sources on covid 19 for water systems as a reference. Water and wastewater operators provide an essential service for our communities, and these websites highlight the need to protect and prioritize the operation workforce as well as the safety of operators in their work environment.

COVID-19 Extension of Renewal Dates for Water and Wastewater Operators and for Drinking Water Samplers

The letters linked below are notice to Water and Wastewater Operators and to Drinking Water Samplers that MDE is  administratively extending renewal dates per the Governor's Executive Order.

MDE's Survey for Operators Interested in COVID-19 Regional Response

As a result of the COVID-19 health crisis, utilities are faced with many additional challenges, including plant staffing. MDE is seeking water, wastewater, and industrial wastewater operators who are currently employed as circuit riders, or who may be interested in assisting other utilities as one's certification(s) allow. By completing the survey, you are providing valuable insight for Maryland's utilities and MDE. Operators interested in providing assistance must respond to the survey by Friday April 3rd.

The survey and a summary of responses will be posted on the Board of Waterworks and Waste Systems Operators web page on MDE's website. Board staff will facilitate utilities and operators who are interested in participating. Utilities that require staffing assistance should contact the Water Supply Program or Wastewater Compliance Program directly.

For questions or additional information, please contact the Water Supply Program at watersupply@maryland.gov. Thank you for your time and assistance with this survey.

​PFAS—MDE's Ongoing Evaluation of PFAS


Lead Testing in Drinking Water In Schools

water-supplyDuring the 2017 legislative session, the Maryland General Assembly passed House Bill 270:  Testing for Lead in Drinking Water – Public and Nonpublic Schools, mandating all occupied public and nonpublic schools serving children in prekindergarten to grade 12 to periodically test for the presence of lead in all drinking water outlets. The Water Supply Program has developed a web page that provides guidance materials (e.g. sampling instructions, a list of State-certified laboratories, training presentation, etc.), State forms (e.g. deferral, waiver, parent notification, etc.), templates, and other helpful information. The web page may be accessed here: http://mde.maryland.gov/programs/Water/water_supply/Pages/Testing-For-Lead-In-Drinking-Water-Public-and-Nonpublic-Schools.aspx



Climate Change Adaptation for Maryland Water Utilities

Image of LakeClimate Change Adaptation for Maryland Water Utilities is a brochure that explains how your water system can better prepare for impacts from climate change.



Notice of Recent Applications Received for Water Appropriation Permits

Image of Bypass Operation at Deep Creek LakeThe listing of notices below reflect new applications for withdrawals in excess of 10,000 gallons per day.



For More Information

For more information contact the Water Supply Program at 410-537-3702 or water.supply@maryland.gov.