Press Release

BALTIMORE (August 26, 1999) - Responding to the drought-related economic hardship concerns of Maryland's sod farms and landscape businesses, the Maryland Department of the Environment today modified a statewide drought variance to allow watering of plantings, lawns and turf that was seeded or sodded in connection with new construction.

The department issued the modification not only to avoid extraordinary economic hardship to the sod and landscape businesses, but also to prevent water pollution resulting from soil erosion from unstabilized areas.

The variance allows watering of plantings and newly seeded or sodded lawns associated with new construction between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. and only until the grass or plantings are established.

Today's action amends a variance issued several weeks ago that allowed watering - between the hours of 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. -- of grass newly seeded or sodded between July 1 and August 4, the date the mandatory restrictions took effect. That aspect of the variance remains in effect.