Caroline County Health Department
Division of Environmental Health
403 S 7th Street, P.O. Box 10, Denton, MD 21629
Hours 8-5p.m., M-F; Phone: 410/479-8045    FAX: 410/479-4082


Frequently Asked Questions

Bay Restoration Fund

The Bay Restoration Fund was created to provide financing for Chesapeake Bay clean up 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.  Funding is only available for the portion of the system upgrade that is designed to reduce nitrogen discharges.  Costs associated with the disposal portion, such as the tile lines or trenches are not eligible for funds.  Interested property owners should complete the initial application and forward it to this office.  Once the initial application is received further directions will be provided.  All applications will be considered.  Call 410 479 8045 to speak to a sanitarian if you have additional questions. 

Other related sites: - Site provides information about septic upgrade program - Site explains "Bill 320" Bay Restoration Fund.  It also explains how the "flush tax" is calculated. - Site addresses Water Quality Financing. (USDA site about low interest loans)  Applicants can also call the Denton Satellite office at 410 479 1202 to inquire about Grant/Loan programs.


Bite, where do I report an animal bite?    Please call the rabies hot line at 410/479-2232 to report an animal bite or to find out when the next rabies clinic will be. Note: when reporting an animal bite, the animal must reside in Caroline County, Maryland. If you are a resident of Caroline County, and you were bitten by an animal NOT in our county, then the bite should be reported to the health department of the county where the bite took place in and/or where the animal owner resides.

Building permit, where do I get one?   Building permits are required but not limited to: new and replacement houses, new and replacement mobile homes, decks, pools, sheds, chicken houses, etc., and are issued by the Caroline County Planning and Codes Department for properties outside an incorporated town and by the individual towns for properties located within town limits.

Regardless of where the property is located, before the permit can be processed, health department approval is required. The issues the health department addresses is what effect the building proposal will have on existing well(s) and septic system(s), or if a septic permit can be issued for new home (if vacant lot). In cases of building a new home in an incorporated town with public water and/or sewer, the town will secure health department approval. In cases when building inside an incorporated town and the property has private well and/or septic, the property owner will be responsible to get health department approval.    

Checklist for Building Permit:
(  ) Apply to Health Dept for approval (specific application required is underlined):
             (WSV - if existing well/septic on property)
             (SCP - if vacant lot with perc approval less than 2 years old)
             (PSR - if vacant lot with perc approval older than 2 years)
             (PERC TEST - if vacant lot and no record of perc approval, or PSR came back as disapproved)
(  ) After approved by health department, apply to appropriate Building Permit Dept.
             Call Planning and Codes at (410) 479-8100 for properties located outside of limits of an incorporated town.
             Call appropriate town for properties located inside incorporated town.



Burn permits, where do I get them?    The health department stopped issuing burning permits in 1992. Presently people should contact Fire Control at 410/479-2223 before burning to make sure there is no BURNING BAN and also, to prevent them from sending a fire truck to the burn site.  It is recommended to practice “common sense” and not burn to create a nuisance and/or hazard to the neighborhood. Also, do not burn too close to trees, other homes, roads, and over head electric lines; do not burn anything that would create a lot of smoke (like tires, shingles, etc) or anything harmful to the environment. 

The Health Department does respond to burning complaints and refers them to State of Maryland, Department of the Environment, Division of Air and Radiation Management, Salisbury Field Office (410) 713-3680.


Copies of permits or perc test results, how do I get them?    Copies of existing permits and perc test results can be obtained by faxing a request for records search.  Allow 30 days processing time  (emails can be quicker – follow the email protocol.).  A fee is assessed for walk-ins, faxes and emails are free.


Food permits, food complaints?    Businesses selling food in Caroline County are required to have a food permit. Plan Review (and plan review fee)  is required before the application and permit fee is required, and the permit is renewed yearly. Fund raising events are also required to get a food permit—at no fee, special event applications should be submitted 30 days before the event.

Complaints regarding food service facilities (restaurants or stores) can be called to 410/479-8045, Mondays-Fridays between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Groundwater Appropriation Permits (GAP) are obtained thru the Maryland Department of the Environment.  Usually farm wells will require that a GAP be issued before the well can be processed.  This could involve renewing an expired permit or applying for a new permit, Ag use.  Visit Maryland Department of the Environment's website at for more up-to-date information.

Major subdivisions will also require a groundwater appropriate permit, the application is slightly different from the Ag application.



Lead, testing and removal?  www.// is an excellent web site that addresses many health questions, including lead.  Also, visit for information published by the EPA concerning lead.

If you want your home checked for lead or have concerns about lead in your home, check under "LEAD" in the yellow pages of the phone book for phone numbers of businesses that perform lead inspections and remediation.  The local health departments do not inspect or remove lead from homes.

Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) has a Lead program that requires homes built prior to the 1950's to be registered with them.  You can call MDE at 800 633 6101for information about that program.  Their website is (when you go to this site, select "Environmental Programs", then "Land", you should see information about lead on that page).


Map, Block, Parcel Numbers - What are they? How do I get them?    Map, Block, Parcel numbers are numbers issued to identify a property location. It is also how environmental health keeps records of the files on permits and/or perc tests performed on properties. As a matter of fact, most of our applications require the Map, Block, Parcel, and if applicable, the name of subdivison and Lot Number.

If you are interested in a property that has an existing house. You can usually find the Map, Block, Parcel numbers through the 911 address. Call the local tax assessment office at 410-819-4450 or visit the State Tax Assessment Website at

The website mentioned above is an excellent source to obtain current Map, Block, Parcel numbers in cases where there is an existing 911 address, or if you have the tax ID #.

Sometimes, the 911 address posted on the property is not the 911 address in the website or on the tax records. In cases like these, recommend you look up the closest property that has a 911 address and search the Tax Assessment's website with that address. That will at least give you the map that the parcel is located on. If the property you are interested in is in a subdivision, make sure you know which lot number is yours.


Mold, who do I contact about mold? www.// is an excellent web site that addresses many health questions, including mold. If you want your home checked for mold or have concerns about mold in your home, check under "MOLD" in the yellow pages of the phone book.

The Yellow Pages in the local phone books have a "MOLD" section that may provide you phone numbers of businesses that perform mold inspections and remediation. The local health departments do not inspect or remove mold from homes.

Mosquito spraying, who does it?    Spraying for mosquitoes are managed thru the town if the property is in the limits of an incorporated town ; or by County Roads at 410/479-0520 for property outside of town limits.

Checklist for perc test (and subdividing):

  • Check with Planning & Codes to make sure project can be done.
  • If your project is on parcel that has an existing well/septic, you will need to apply for a Water/Sewer Verification before the perc test application can be accepted.  This is to document that your project will not adversely affect the existing well/septic system on property.  A scaled site plan will be required and it must show existing property lines, proposed property lines and existing well/septic tank, existing house and other buildings, existing driveway and proposed driveway.
  • Prepare scaled site plan showing location of test site. Include location of any wells within 150' of the existing and proposed property lines.
  • Submit application (signed by legal owner) site plan and appropriate fee. Expect results of soil evaluation (dry perc) within 60 days of application; if wet season test, expect results at end of wet season (usually in June, provided wet season application was received before January 1st and no drought conditions exist).
  • Prepare site--install pipes by December 1st; A sanitarian will contact you shortly after your perc test application is received to schedule the pits to go in.
  • Submit plat (if subdividing) or Septic permit application (if no subdivision required and are ready to build).
  • Click here for specific perc questions.


How do I get copies of the regulationsThe food, perc, septic, and well programs are enforced by COMAR regulations.  The local library has a copy of the regulation books or you can visit the State of Maryland's website at


Scaled Site Plan, what is it and how do I get one?    Most of the time you will have a scaled site plan in your settlement papers; especially if the home had been occupied before and the home was financed thru a bank or mortgage company. Recommend you search your settlement papers for something called a “Location Survey” or it may have been called an “Improvements Sketch” or may have some other “title”. Regardless of the title, what you will see is lines on a piece of paper that represent property lines and existing buildings—some times these surveys will even show the driveway. They rarely show the well and septic system.

In cases where the lot is vacant, and you are applying for health department approval (via a septic permit or a Water Sewer Verification), it is highly recommended that a surveyor stake property lines, existing and/or proposed buildings, well(s) and septic system(s) and prepare a scaled site plan to submit to the health department with the appropriate application.

Septic permits, how do I get one?    Septic permits are also known as On-Site Sanitary Construction Permits. There are three different types of septic permits:

  1. New system: This is a case where the lot is a vacant lot, or the existing home never had a septic system (such as an old house that had a “privy”). Vacant lots will require a valid perc approval before a septic permit can be accepted.
  2. Repair/Renovation: This is a case of an existing home that needs to be upgraded or repaired.
  3. Tank or grease trap only: This is used most often when a tank has to be replaced, or a business needs a grease trap.

Regardless of what type of septic permit—the application must be accompanied by a scaled site plan and appropriate fee

Also, in cases when the vacant lot has a sand mound approval, the mound specifications designed by a private consultant or engineer must also accompany the application with current fee.

An application is considered "filed" when the completed application, fee, site plan (and mound specifications, if applicable) are received at the Environmental Health office.

Specifications are sent to the applicant. These "specifications" will have a signature sheet for the homeowner and sewage contractor to sign. Additional pages will accompany the signature sheet. These pages will have information about the size and location of tank and drainfields. It will also indicate where the proposed well should go (or if an existing well is on the property). There will be a place for the owner to sign and a sewage contactor to sign.

Once the specifications (with appropriate signatures) are received at the Environmental Health office, the septic permit will be issued to the sewage contractor. An "owner's letter" will be sent to the owner. If this septic system is for a proposed new home, recommend owner taking the letter with them when applying for the building permit.

Below is Checklist for Obtaining A Sanitary Construction Permit:

1.    A Sanitary Construction Permit application will require the current property owner's signature, current fee, and a site plan indicating where the proposed house, well and SRA are staked; or the site plan should show where the existing house, well and tank are located on the property.  In cases of existing house, recommend applicant bring in the location survey (from settlement papers if one was done) to use as a site plan.  In cases of SAND MOUND, specifications from private consult are to be submitted with the application.

2.    Upon receipt of a complete application, a sanitarian will visit the site and provide minimum specifications to the homeowner. 

3.    The homeowner, in turn, will review the specifications and have their licensed sewage contractor review these specifications and return these specifications with the homeowner's signature and the licensed sewage contractor's signature. 

4.    When these specifications are received (WITH APPROPRIATE SIGNATURES) at the health department a permit will be issued to the sewage contractor.

5.    The sewage contractor will be responsible for calling the Health Department for necessary inspections.

6.    A Certificate of Completion will be issued upon satisfactory completion of the septic system.  In event of new home, the certificate will be held at the health department pending approval on the well.



Septic Records, how to I get records for an existing septic system?  You need to apply for a "Records Search".  Allow 30 days processing time.  A fee is assessed.    If you want to email your request, please follow the email protocol.  Also, if you have a septic system on your property, the Maryland Cooperative Extension Service has useful information such as brochures on septic system maintenance.


Set backs, what are they?   

When planning to build, keep in mind that your building must meet certain setbacks from the existing well and septic system.

When planning to build a new home on a vacant lot, this is the best time to take a few extra minutes and decide where to put the house, AND future decks, pools, sheds, garage or any other buildings; keep in mind that all construction must be 30 feet from wells and septic tanks and sewage reserve areas.  Preparing a scaled site plan can make planning for a new home and future projects much easier.

Other setbacks to property lines are monitored by Planning and Codes. Call them at 410/479-8100 to get set backs from roads and property lines; this is also a good time to ask if special set backs apply to rivers, ditches, and ponds.

In cases where you are planning to apply for a perc test, keep in mind that your test site (pits and pipes) should be 150' from rivers, streams, ditches, ponds, marsh, wells.  For example, if a tax ditch or stream is not on your property but  near your property line, your test site will still need to be 150 ft from that ditch or stream.


Transfer Development Rights, what are they?   Transfer Development Rights are managed through the Panning and Codes Department. Call them at 410/479-8100 for a better explanation and if your property has this potential. After you ascertain if your property has this potential, the property must pass a wet season test.


Water Sewer Verification, what are they?  

When a property owner (or buyer) is in the planning stages to do something with their property and if the property has an existing well and septic system, they will need health department approval. A Water Sewer Verification (WSV) application is required.

Some examples requiring this application would be the following:

  • If planning to subdivide a parcel off of a property that has an existing well and septic.
  • If planning to start a home occupation business (be sure to show customer parking as well as other requested information on your site plan and number of employees as well as hours of operation and type of operation on the proposal section of the application).
  • If planning to remodel house, add room, deck, pool, etc.
  • If planning to replace and old home/trailer with new home.
  • If planning to add or enlarge sewage reserve area
  • If planning on an "accessory dwelling"; double check with Planning & Codes 410 479 8045 to see what the criteria is for accessory dwellings.

The application must be received with a scaled site plan and the current fee.  If property has a home that was occupied previously before ownership change, check the settlement papers for a site plan. It may be titled "Location Survey" or "Improvement Sketch"; regardless of the title of the sketch, it will show property lines and buildings, minimally; sometimes it may even show driveway(s), wells and SRA's.  If applicant finds a scaled drawing in their settlement papers, they should bring it in with the WSV application; we can make a copy of the sketch and have applicant scale out proposal on the copy of the site plan using our scaled rulers.

Please allow 30 days processing time.


Subdividing property? 

Always check with Planning and Codes 410 479 8100 to see if the property has subdivision potential from zoning viewpoint before you apply for any Environmental Health Department services.  Review our plat checklist.

If you have a single lot of record that you get a single tax bill on.  The size could be 1 acre or 100+ acres.  If after your project is completed it is no longer a single lot of record--in other words you will get separate tax bills, then your project will be considered as a subdivision.  Examples follow:

·         Example Scenario 1  Dad and Mom have a 100 acre farm with 1 house and 2 mobile homes.  They want to subdivide the house from the farm and leave the two mobile homes with the farm.  In this case they would apply for a Water/Sewer Verification  (WSV).  A site plan showing the 100 acres, the existing property lines, the proposed property lines, the existing rivers, streams, ponds, driveway(s), well(s), septic system(s), existing house and mobile homes and all other structures.  This must be done before a final plat is submitted formally. Note that on the water/sewer verification application in section "D" the proposal should be written in.  In this case be sure to note existing and proposed property sizes--such as "100 acre farm, planning to keep existing 2 mobile homes with farm and taking existing house from farm to be approximately 1 acre, 2 acres, etc."--what ever size the applicant was planning to take out.  Once the WSV application is processed a copy will be mailed to you--read the sanitarian comments section--it will let you know if you should proceed with plat or if the parcel will require perc test(s) for existing homesites.

·         Example Scenario 2:  Dad and Mom have a 100 acre farm with 1 house only.  They want to create several building lots for children.  In this case they would need to apply for a Water/Sewer Verification.  A site plan showing the 100 acres, existing property lines, proposed property lines, existing rivers, streams, ponds, driveway(s), well(s), septic system(s).  This must be done before a final plat is submitted formally. Note that on the water/sewer verification application in section "D" the proposal should be written in.  In this case be sure to note existing and proposed property sizes--such as "100 acre farm, planning to keep existing farm house with farm and take four (4)  1 or 2 acre building lots".  Once the WSV application is processed a copy will be mailed to you--read the sanitarian comments section--it will let you know if you need to test existing homesite and proposed new lots.

·         Scenario 3:  Dad and Mom have a 100 acre farm with no structures, wells, or septic systems.  They want to build one home on the site.  In this case they would apply for a perc test.  A site plan showing property lines, test site (consisting of three piezometers), existing rivers, streams, ponds and proposed driveway should accompany the application.


Well Records, how do I get information on an existing well?  You need to apply for a "Records Search".  Allow 30 days processing time.   A fee is assessed.     If you prefer, you can email your request; please follow the email protocol.  Also, if you have a well on your property, the Maryland Cooperative Extension Service (website: has useful information such as brochures on well maintenance.


Well Drillers  
Wells must be installed in Caroline County by a State of Maryland Certified Well Driller--check the yellow pages to find a driller.




copyright  ©  CCHD2005 ¦ Legal Disclaimer & Privacy Notices;   Leland Spencer, M.D., Health Officer
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