Ensure All Marylanders Have Safe Drinking Water!

Take Action and tell your Maryland legislators to pass House Bill 250 and ensure safe drinking water for all Marylanders today!

The Safe Drinking Water Act is the primary federal law governing the health of the nation’s drinking water, but its protections do not extend to private drinking wells and smaller community-based water systems. Roughly 830,000 Marylanders rely on well water as their primary drinking source and are expected to take the safety of their drinking water into their own hands. Unfortunately, many have not been adequately informed about potential drinking water contaminants, do not know they should test their wells annually, or cannot afford the cost of testing.

According to a 2020 report, Maryland ranks among the five U.S. states with the fewest protections for private well owners and users. House Bill 250, sponsored by Delegate Vaughn Stewart (District 19), would bring Maryland in line with the resources and information that other states provide to well owners and users by establishing a Private Well Safety Program. We urge you to send an email today to your legislators asking them to pass HB250 to establish the Private Well Safety Program!

The Private Well Safety Act (HB250), will protect private well owners by:

  1. Requiring MDE to provide eligible residents with financial assistance to cover the costs associated with water test kits, and when unsafe levels of contamination are found, of well remediation. County health departments may apply for funding under the bill to provide financial assistance directly to residents.
  2. Requiring MDE to create an accessible online database of well water quality test results, and requiring county health departments and state-certified labs to upload water quality test results to the database periodically.
  3. Requiring water quality testing during the sale of a home with a well.

Studies have demonstrated the disproportionate public health impact that pollution can have on lower-income families and people of color; pollution in Maryland’s drinking water is no exception. Nitrate, for instance, is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless compound that has contaminated groundwater on Maryland’s Lower Eastern Shore — where the proportion of people living in poverty is greater than the state as a whole. Counties in the Lower Eastern Shore also have the highest proportion of Black residents compared to the rest of the shore. One study found that in two Lower Eastern Shore counties, roughly 1 out of 10 private wells sampled had nitrate concentrations of 3 mg/L or above, a level that may be or become hazardous to health. Rates of cancer, colorectal cancer, infant mortality, and low birth weight, which have all been linked to nitrate consumption, are greater in Lower Eastern Shore counties compared to the state as a whole.

Take Action and tell your Maryland legislators to pass House Bill 250 and ensure safe drinking water for all Marylanders today!