www.charlescountymd.gov

Charles County, Maryland

Wastewater and Septic Systems

Wastewater and Septic Systems

Public Water & Sewer Service

Public water is piped to your home or business typically from a deep aquifer well operated by local water utilities.  Public sewer services treat wastewater from toilets, bathing, and other household uses by piping it from your home or business to a wastewater treatment plant operated by the local utility because the source of public water for Charles County is largely from public well systems.  The source of fresh water for well systems is groundwater.  You can protect the water supply and reduce the cost of treatment required at utility facilities by reducing pollution that reaches the groundwater.  Check out how you can Help Stop Water Pollution!.

Private Water & Septic Systems

Properties that do not have municipal water and sewer services use a private well for water supply and a septic system for wastewater disposal.  Property owners are responsible for maintaining and replacing their well and septic systems. Water supply systems from wells tap into the groundwater under your property.  The septic system treats wastewater and disperses the treated effluent into the soil in what is known as “drain fields”.  

How Does a Septic System Work?

  • A septic tank is designed so that the solids and other material settle and form a sludge layer at the bottom of your tank or float forming a scum layer on top.  The clear effluent in the middle is then passed through and distributed to the drain field where the soil absorbs the effluent. 
     
  • Up to 50 percent of the solids retained in the tank decompose and the remainder accumulates in the tank.  Biological and chemical additives are not needed to aid or accelerate decomposition. 
     
  • A licensed liquid waste hauler will remove the accumulated sludge layer to prevent any solids from clogging your disposal system and drain fields that could lead to system failure.