A. Discharge Approval Required.
(1) Any discharge or disposal of waters or wastewaters into the underground waters of the State requires the approval of the Department. The approval, if granted, will contain limitations and requirements deemed necessary by the Department to protect the public health and welfare and to prevent pollution of ground and surface waters.
(2) A separate State discharge permit is required for:
(a) Wastewater effluents disposed of by means of spray or other land treatment or application systems;
(b) Ground water recharge systems;
(c) Discharge of leachate from a landfill to surface or ground waters except as specified in §A(3)(a); and
(d) Other subsurface disposal systems not specifically exempted in this regulation.
(Agency note: A separate State discharge permit is a discharge permit issued to an individual discharger or point source. A general permit is a State discharge permit issued to a class of dischargers pursuant to COMAR 26.08.04.08.)
(3) A separate State discharge permit is not required for:
(a) Landfills designed to achieve natural attenuation of leachate and permitted under Environment Article, §9-204 or 9-224, unless there is a discharge of leachate to surface waters of the State;
(b) Subsurface sewage disposal systems using soil absorption and permitted by the Department under Environment Article, Title 9, Subtitle 5, Annotated Code of Maryland, and COMAR 26.04.02;
(c) Sewage sludge composting or disposal operations permitted by the Department under Environment Article, Title 9, Subtitle 2, Part III, Annotated Code of Maryland, unless there is a direct discharge of wastewater to surface waters of the State; and
(d) Other subsurface disposal systems permitted by the Department under the provisions of COMAR 26.08.04.08.
(4) An Underground Injection Permit issued under COMAR 26.08.07 also constitutes a discharge permit under this regulation.
(5) The land application of food processing wastewater is exempt from the requirement to obtain a State discharge permit if the wastewater meets the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) State Chemist Office requirements for registration as a soil conditioner, subject to the following conditions and exceptions:
(a) MDA notifies the Department that a determination has been made that the wastewater meets the requirements for registration as a soil conditioner. If the Department has not responded within 45 days of the notification, the determination made by MDA shall be considered accepted and the applicant shall be exempt from obtaining a State discharge permit. If the Department verifies or rejects MDA’s State Chemist determination within 45 days of the notification, the Department may still require a State discharge permit.
(b) The applicant continues to perform any necessary actions to ensure that the wastewater meets the requirements for registration as a soil conditioner, and complies with the COMAR 15.20.0415.20.08, which includes the applicant’s obligation to obtain and comply with a Nutrient Management Plan governing the application of the wastewater.
(c) Department representatives upon presentation of credentials are allowed at reasonable times to enter premises to inspect any wastewater collection, treatment, land application records and practices, and food processing operation records.
(d) An application for renewal of the exemption set forth herein must be submitted to MDA within 5 years of the exemption date from obtaining a State discharge permit. The requirements of this subsection apply for the renewal process.
(e) The Department may deny the permit exemption during the 45 day period or at any time choose to revoke a permit exemption provided under this section.
B. Aquifer Types Identified. For the purpose of controlling the pollution of the ground waters of the State, the Department of the Environment has identified three aquifer types and has established standards for ground water quality, as follows:
(1) Type I aquifer means an aquifer having a transmissivity greater than 1,000 gallons/day/foot and a permeability greater than 100 gallons/day/square foot. In addition, the total dissolved solids concentration for natural water in each aquifer shall be less than 500 milligrams/liter.
(2) Type II aquifer means an aquifer having either:
(a) A transmissivity greater than 10,000 gallons/day/foot, a permeability greater than 100 gallons/day/square foot and natural water with a total dissolved solids concentration of between 500 and 6,000 milligrams/liter; or
(b) A transmissivity between 1,000 and 10,000 gallons/day/foot, a permeability greater than 100 gallons/day/square foot and natural water with a total dissolved solids concentration of between 500 and 1,500 milligrams/liter.
(3) Type III aquifer means all aquifers other than Type I and Type II aquifers.
C. Discharge Quality Criteria. The following criteria apply outside of designated mixing zones (for the purpose of this section, the term "mixing zone" means an area or volume established by the Department for the mixing of ambient ground water with waters or wastewaters, or both, discharged as authorized by the Department):
(1) For Type I Aquifers. The characteristics or constituents of waters may not exceed primary or secondary standards for drinking water as adopted by the Department of the Environment in COMAR 26.04.01.
(2) For Type II Aquifers. The characteristics or constituents of waters after treatment by commercially available home water treatment or softening systems may not exceed primary or secondary standards for drinking water, except for total dissolved solids, as adopted by the Department of the Environment in COMAR 26.04.01 and §B(2) of this regulation.
(3) For Type III Aquifers. The characteristics or constituents of waters shall be such that they do not meet Type I or Type II quality criteria.
D. Guidelines for Discharge to Ground Waters.
(1) Land disposal of municipal wastewater or wastewater with similar characteristics shall follow the Department of the Environment's "Guidelines for Land Application/Reuse of Treated Municipal Wastewaters" MDE-WMA-001-04/10, which is incorporated by reference.
(2) Discharges to a ground water aquifer of specific classification may not result in pollution of an aquifer possessing higher quality criteria.
(3) Discharges to ground water may not result in degradation of ground waters below the criteria established in §C, outside a mixing zone specified in a State discharge permit, general permit, or other permit issued by the Department of the Environment.
(4) Dischargers or potential dischargers to ground waters may be required to monitor ground or surface waters, or both, in a manner and frequency and at locations specified by the Department of the Environment and to periodically submit the results of these activities.
(5) As provided in COMAR 26.13.05.18, the underground injection of hazardous wastes is prohibited.