Water Resources Element

In the past decade, water quality and quantity issues have had a tremendous influence on growth and development issues. In the early part of the decade, many private wells and public water supplies were impacted due to drought conditions. These conditions brought about many changes to State policies and local development activity.

Three of Carroll County's municipalities - Mount Airy, Westminster, and Taneytown - were forced to enter into consent agreements with the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) to develop additional water supplies. Most of the county's public water supply systems have faced challenges of some sort conforming to State policies related to water quantity, which results in challenges to achieving Smart Growth.

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Legislation (HB 1141) passed by the 2006 Maryland General Assembly resulted in several significant changes to land use regulations controlled by Article 66B of the Annotated Code of the State of Maryland. New watershed-based planning requirements are among the more significant changes. A Water Resources Element (WRE) must be developed and adopted by all local governments on or before October 1, 2009. The County and its eight municipalities were granted by Maryland Department of Planning a six-month extension to April 1, 2010, to adopt the plan element.

This WRE must identify drinking water and other water resources needed for existing and future growth. It also must identify suitable receiving waters (where stormwater and treated wastewater can be discharged) and land areas for stormwater management and wastewater treatment. The WRE must address pollutant reductions, where needed, from both existing development and future growth. This legislation comes at a time when water quality and quantity planning is of utmost importance.


Through a collaborative effort between Carroll County and its municipalities, a joint WRE plan document was developed, using the Water Resources Coordination Council (WRCC) as the forum for collaboration. This same document was then adopted by all of the participating jurisdictions. The jurisdictions that participated in adoption of the joint WRE plan document are Carroll County, Hampstead, Manchester, Mount Airy, New Windsor, Sykesville, Union Bridge, and Westminster. To review or download PDFs of all or part of the document, please see the links below. The complete document is available to download as one file, or you may click on the links to individual sections of the document. Because the document is rich in graphics and maps, some of the files are large.

To review or download the complete document, click here:

      Complete WRE Plan Document (49.0 MB)

To review or download a specific portion of the plan document, click on the appropriate link below: (If you are not sure what section you are looking for, you can review the Table of Contents first to determine the section you need.)

      Cover (225 KB)
      Resolutions Approving and Adopting the Plan (15.6 MB)
      Preface; Table of Contents; List of Supporting, Contributing, &
            Guiding Documents; Acronyms
(494 KB)
      Background (13.6 MB)
      Water (2.87 MB)
      Wastewater (2.90 MB)
      Nonpoint Source (NPS) (2.48 MB)
      Countywide Strategies (3.89 MB)
      Overview by Municipal System
            Carroll County (1.78 MB)
            Freedom (736 KB)
            Hampstead (221 KB)
            Manchester (200 KB)
            Mount Airy (143 KB)
            New Windsor (127 KB)
            Sykesville (73.8 KB)
            Taneytown (187 KB) Note: The City of Taneytown did not participate in the adoption
                  of this plan document. However, this section was provided by the City and is included
                  here as part of a holistic view of the demand and needs of the Carroll County region.

            Union Bridge (250 KB)
            Westminster (2.78 MB)
      Appendices (1.57 MB)
      Glossary (70.2 KB)


Carroll County and its municipalities worked collaboratively to develop one unified WRE document that could be adopted by all of Carroll County's jurisdictions to satisfy the requirements of HB 1141. The forum for collaboration on this effort was the Water Resources Coordination Council (WRCC). The WRCC includes County staff, representatives of each Carroll County municipality, and the Carroll County Health Department. Meetings are advertised and open to the public.

Since this process involved substantial technical information, a WRE Guidance Team was formed to discuss issues as they arise. This team included representatives of County staff, each municipality, and the three relevant State agencies (MDE, MDP, and DNR). A WRE Work Group (consisting of the County and municipal representatives from the WRCC) met periodically to work through issues related to data collection and technical background assessments.

The WRE Work Group followed the Models and Guidelines (No. 26) developed jointly between MDE and MDP and additional guidance provided by the State agencies for the development of this plan element.


The Group collected data on the current capacity of each water and wastewater system. This information helped identify additional capacity needs based on current (as of Dec 2007) and planned future demand/growth (based on adopted plans as of Dec 2007 - no information was based on proposals). Where limitations identified cannot be overcome, reductions in future demand will need to be considered.

The County hired a consultant, Malcolm Pirnie, to provide technical assistance with several of the background assessments needed to form decisions and develop strategies to be included in a plan element. The consultant provided a number of assessments/evaluations.


The nonpoint source ("NPS" includes stormwater and septics) component of this plan was conducted by County staff. MDP and MDE provided a loading analysis model from which the results should be acceptable to the State. Recommended strategies need to address the NPS contribution to or impact on impaired waters (303d), Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs), Tier II waters (high quality), and Tributary Strategies/Chesapeake Bay TMDL, among other things.

The County participated in the Center for Watershed Protection's Builders for the Bay Better Site Design Standards assessment and consensus document. This project provided the stormwater programmatic assessment required in the WRE guidance document. The consensus document primarily provides recommendations for addressing impervious surfaces and reducing runoff. Many of the recommendations have already been implemented. Others are incorporated into the draft WRE.

Upon completion of these assessments, County staff worked with the municipalities/WRCC members to draft the actual WRE plan document.


Cover, Table of Contents, & Chap. 1 Intro (89 KB)

Chap. 2 Statement of Needs (315 KB)

Chap. 3 Water Supply Alternatives and Evaluation


Chap 4. Water Reuse


Chaps 5 & 6. Evaluation Results/Recommended Alternatives AND References (111 KB)
Appendix A Telephone Conversation Logs (65 KB)
Appendix B Preliminary Evaluation of Reservoir Alternatives (by Schnabel Engineering) (4.1 MB)
Appendix C Groundwater Assessment (113 KB)
Appendix D Criteria Scoring Tables for Water Supply Alternatives (106 KB)


Under State law, a local jurisdiction must provide State agencies with a minimum of 60 days to review the draft document and provide comments. During this time, Carroll County jurisdictions typically provide a concurrent period for public review and comment.

Each municipal representative of the Water Resources Coordination Council presented the staff draft of the Water Resources Element to their planning commissions during the month of November, 2009. Between November 5 and November 30, each municipal planning commission gave approval to release the draft for the 60-day review period.

County Planning staff also presented the initial staff draft to the Carroll County Planning Commission on the evening of Tuesday, November 10, 2009. On November 17, the County Planning Commission gave approval to release the draft for State-required 60-day review period.


To download the entire plan document, please click here (43 MB). To review specific portions of the plan, please see the appropriate section below.

Cover (278 KB)
Preface (513 KB)
Table of Contents & Acronyms (453 KB)
Background - A (9.9 MB)
Background - B (2.4 MB) (Watershed Maps)
Background - C (3.2 MB)
Water (3.6 MB)
Wastewater (4.3 MB)
Nonpoint Source (3.4 MB)

Countywide Strategies (4.1 MB)

Individual Jurisdictions & Municipal Systems:

Carroll County-Specific Strategies (1.9 MB)
Freedom-Specific Strategies (997 KB)
Hampstead-Specific Strategies (541 KB)
Manchester-Specific Strategies (431 KB)
Mount Airy-Specific Strategies (507 KB)
New Windsor-Specific Strategies (329 KB)
Sykesville-Specific Strategies (156 KB)
Taneytown-Specific Strategies (387 KB)
Union Bridge-Specific Strategies (452 KB)
Westminster-Specific Strategies (3.2 MB)
Appendices (2.1 MB)

The draft plan was distributed for review on Friday, December 4, 2009. One document was sent out on behalf of all nine jurisdictions - Carroll County, Hampstead, Manchester, Mount Airy, Manchester, New Windsor, Sykesville, Taneytown, Union Bridge, and Westminster. Comments were requested from State agencies and neighboring jurisdictions by Friday, February 5, 2010. Please click here to read a copy of the cover letter that accompanied the draft plan.

All comments on the draft Water Resources Element, whether general or specific to an individual jurisdiction, can be directed to Brenda Dinne by e-mail to bdinne@ccg.carr.org or by mail at 225 North Center Street, Room 204, Westminster MD 21157.


Two community information meetings on the WRE will be held as follows:

  • Wednesday, January 20, 2010, in the South Carroll High School auditorium from 6:30 to 8:00 PM - Staff will be available from Carroll County Planning, the Town of Mount Airy, and the Town of Sykesville.
  • Thursday, January 28, 2010, in Room 003 of the County Office Building in Westminster from 6:30 to 8:00 PM - This meeting will focus on the central and northern areas of the county, including Hampstead, Manchester, New Windsor, Union Bridge, Taneytown, and Westminster.
The purpose of these meetings is to answer questions so that individuals will be able to provide informed comments to the planning commissions as part of the public hearing process. Click here to view the news release announcing these meetings.

Each of the nine planning commissions is required to hold a public hearing on the draft plan. The confirmed public hearings for each jurisdiction are shown below.

  • Carroll County, Hampstead, Manchester, New Windsor, Westminster - Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. in Room 003 of the County Office Building - This will be a joint hearing of these planning commissions. RESCHEDULED TO MARCH 9, 2010, DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER.
  • Taneytown - Monday, January 25, 2010 at 7:30 p.m. at the City Office.
  • Union Bridge - Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 6:30 p.m. at the Town Hall.
  • Sykesville - Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. at the Town House.
  • Mount Airy - Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. at the Town Hall.
  • Carroll County, Manchester, New Windsor, Westminster - Tuesday, March 9, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. in Room 003 of the County Office Building - This will be a joint hearing of these planning commissions. Click here to view the hearing notice. Click here to view the agenda for the hearing.
Click here to view the news release regarding the public hearing dates.

The Board of County Commissioners was updated on the process on February 18, 2010. Click here to view the handout provided for that presentation.

The WRCC reviewed the comments and provided recommendations to the planning commissions to consider. Each planning commission will ultimately approve and certify a final version of the plan. Each planning commission will approve the same plan document (final draft pending approval). Each planning commission will then submit a recommendation to their elected officials to adopt the plan. All of the jurisdictions are required to adopt the WRE by April 1, 2010.

The jurisdictions participating in adoption of the joint WRE plan document are Carroll County, Hampstead, Manchester, Mount Airy, New Windsor, Sykesville, Union Bridge, and Westminster. The status of approval and adoption actions taken by each to date is as follows:

  • Carroll County - Approved by Carroll County Planning Commission on March 29, 2010; adopted by the Board of County Commissioners on April 1, 2010
  • Hampstead - Approved by Town Planning Commission on March 24, 2010; adopted by the Town Council on July 13, 2010
  • Manchester - Approved by Town Planning Commission on March 16, 2010; adopted by the Town Council on March 24, 2010
  • Mount Airy - Approved by Town Planning Commission on August 30, 2010; adopted by the Town Council on October 4, 2010
  • New Windsor - Approved by Town Planning Commission on March 22, 2010; adopted by the Town Council on April 7, 2010
  • Sykesville - Approved by Town Planning Commission on February 19, 2010; adopted by the Town Council on April 12, 2010
  • Union Bridge - Approved by Town Planning Commission on March 18, 2010; adopted by the Town Council on April 26, 2010
  • Westminster - Adopted by City Council in Westminster Comprehensive Plan by reference.

The Models & Guidelines document released by the State to guide development of this plan element can be viewed on the Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) website.

Models & Guidelines No. 26 - The Water Resources Element: Planning for Water Supply and Wastewater and Stormwater Management (15.6 MB)

The Request for Proposal (RFP) outlines the tasks and deliverables that we are requesting from the consultant. The RFP includes some tasks that go beyond the requirements of he WRE, but will give the County and its municipalities direction on how to proceed with chosen options.

Water & Wastewater Options & Strategies for the Carroll County Water Resources Element: Request for Proposals (180 KB)

Malcolm Pirnie was awarded the contract for the WRE project. The Scope of Services describes the tasks and deliverables expected of Malcolm Pirnie. It includes a timeline for the project and its deliverables.

Scope of Services: Malcolm Pirnie (47 KB)
Timeline: Malcolm Pirnie (226 KB)

The Board of County Commissioners was updated on this project on September 4, 2008, by Planning staff. The full update can be viewed through Granicus (video) or by reviewing the PowerPoint presentation.

Carroll County Commissioners Agenda, Video - Scroll down to "Board of County Commissioners" for 2008 and click on the video for September 4, 2008.

Water Resources Element Update to Board of County Commissioners, PowerPoint presentation, September 4, 2008 (9.5 MB)

The Builders for the Bay Consensus Document was approved by the Board of County Commissioners. The Builders for the Bay process included a detailed analysis of existing codes and ordinances. This analysis serves as the required stormwater programmatic assessment for the WRE process and plan.

Carroll County Builders for the Bay Consensus Document (759 KB)

The Board of County Commissioners was updated on this project on May 28, 2009, by Planning staff. The Board also concurred on extending Malcolm Pirnie's services to include evaluating water and wastewater options and other impacts of the Pathways proposals. The full update can be viewed through Granicus (video) or by reviewing the PowerPoint (PDF) presentation.

Carroll County Commissioners Agenda, Video - Scroll down to "Board of County Commissioners" for 2009 and click on the video for May 28, 2009.

Water Resources Element Update to Board of County Commissioners, PowerPoint presentation (PDF), May 28, 2009 (244 KB)

The Board of County Commissioners were updated by Planning Staff on the status and next steps of the WRE process on November 12, 2009.

Water Resources Element Update to Board of County Commissioners, PowerPoint presentation (PDF), November 12, 2009 (225 KB)