MDE’s Action P​​lan for Bermed Infiltration Ponds (BIPs)​​​

To protect public health and the environment, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) is taking a series of steps relating to bermed infiltration ponds, or BIPs. These steps include requiring that requests for new connections or expansion of dwellings to existing BIPs be considered on a case-by-case basis. Starting in August 2021, new construction of BIPs will be suspended for 15 months as MDE explores viable and sustainable solutions for communities served by these ponds. During this period, MDE will perform an in-depth assessment under an action plan developed by the department. MDE will coordinate with local health directors to discuss strategies to support homeowners and communities moving forward.

What is a BIP?​​​​

BIPs have been utilized since the late 1980’s in specific Eastern Shore Counties of Maryland.  BIPs were permitted as a component of on-site sewage disposal systems (OSDS), also known as septic systems, in marginal landscapes that  could not meet the normal design requirements. A BIP is part of a conventional system in which the  treated sewage effluent is discharged to a pond structure. Soils excavated to create the pond are piled above the surrounding ground to create an enclosed berm or dam like structure around the pond.

Household wastewater enters a septic tank, where it settles into three layers; solids at the bottom, liquid in the middle, and fats, oils and greases which rise to the top. Septic tank liquid effluent is then conveyed and discharged near the bottom of the pond for additional treatment and final disposal. Biological organisms in the pond, along with dilution, provide treatment of the wastewater, after which the water moves into surficial groundwater beneath/surrounding the pond or evaporates. See Figure 1 below. 

 
Figure 1. A​ basic schematic of a BIP

BIPs in Mary​land​​​

MDE has identified problems with the performance of BIPs, particularly older ponds that have not been properly maintained. With a number of ponds at risk for failure, The department is taking action by exploring options for replacement and repair, including providing technical and financial assistance. Many of these systems have been constructed in environmentally sensitive areas within the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area, especially non-tidal and tidal wetlands.​

Considering the multiple environmental and health risks, including the effects of climate change, flooding, and groundwater contamination, MDE will evaluate and review this method of sewage disposal. Recognizing numerous existing BIPs are failing and/or appear to have inadequate operation and maintenance, the department will co-review with the local approving authority any new construction of BIPs, connections to existing BIPs or expansion of properties served by BIPs until the department’s evaluation and review are completed.

 
Figure 2. A properly mowed BIP (BIP SDShFc #22 11/5/20)
 

Links

​​​Subdivision Name​ 911#​ Road Name​​ County​
​Adams/Jennin​gs 5440​​ Cassons Neck Rd​ Dorchester​​
​Antioch Acres 1915​ Dailsville Rd​ ​Dorchester​
​Bahr 1544​ Town Point Rd​ Dorchester​
​Brad Vern Pk 3 4810​ Laurie Lane​ Dorchester​
​Brannock Cove 606​ Hills Point Rd​ Dorchester​
​Bromwells Adv#1 1308​ Taylors Island Rd​ Dorchester​
​Bromwells Adv#2 4906​ Timbermarsh Lane​ Dorchester​
Budd/Hales 5143​ Maple Dam Road​ Dorchester​
Burnett/Dixon-Lowry 3962​ Punch Island Rd​ Dorchester​
Camelot 5220​ Travelers Rest Rd​ Dorchester​
Deep Harbor 1723​ Brannocks Neck Rd​ Dorchester​
Deep Water 1 1531​ Deep Water Rd​ Dorchester​
Deep Water 2​ 1522​ Deep Water Rd​ Dorchester​
Ferry Farm Estates 1 827​ Kim Drive​ Dorchester​
Ferry Farm Estates 2 820​ Kim Drive​ Dorchester​
Harold & Bride Miller 5730​ Morris Neck Rd​ Dorchester​
Heron Harbor #1 5220​ Heron Rd​ Dorchester​
Heron Harbor #2 5227​ Heron Rd​ Dorchester​
Hughes 5429​ Town Point Rd​ Dorchester​
James Engel 5378​ Cassons Neck Road​ Dorchester​
Jordon 5241​ Ragged Point Rd​ Dorchester​
Kilmaurie 1228​ Hudson Rd​ Dorchester​
Krapf 5100​ Ragged Point Rd​ Dorchester​
Linkous & Dorworth 7528​ Bar Neck Road​ Dorchester​
Marquess 2015​ ​Pig Neck Rd Dorchester​
Marshall's Landing 760​ Hills Point Road​ Dorchester​
McKeil Point #1 5113​ Brooks Rd​ Dorchester​
McKeil Point #2 5124​ Brooks Rd​ Dorchester​
McKiel Point #3 5208​ Brooks Rd​ Dorchester​
Meekins 3416​ Golden Hill Road​ Dorchester​
Meridith 5428​ Cassons Neck Rd​ Dorchester​
Point of View 770​ Hills Point Rd​ Dorchester​
Richard G. Wheatley 5461​ Ragged Point Rd​ Dorchester​
Rienhoff 2524​ Old House Point Rd​ Dorchester​
Roger Ralph 5366​ Cassons Neck Rd​ Dorchester​
Ruxton Landing 5907​ Heather Lane​ Dorchester​
Spangler 1418​ Town Point Rd​ Dorchester​
Sunset Farms B ​5415 Ragged Point Rd​ Dorchester​
Tieder Sub 2825​ Hoopers Island Rd​ Dorchester​
Trees 1325​ Broadview Drive​​ Dorchester​
​Tudor Farms 3675​ Decoursey Bridge Rd​ Dorchester​
​Unangst 5626​ Bar Neck Rd​ Dorchester​
Vaughan #1 ​1626 Town Point Rd​ Dorchester​
Vaughan #2 1620​ Town Point Rd​ Dorchester​
White 4403​ Pine Top Rd​ Dorchester​
Wright 519​ Taylors Island Rd​ Dorchester​
Wright 5942​ Indian Quarter Rd​ Dorchester​​
 
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