About the Utility Design Division

The Utility Design Division is comprised of engineers and administrative support personnel. The responsibilities of the Division include oversight of the cost, scheduling, and design of water and wastewater capital projects. The Utility Design Division of the Bureau of Engineering differs from the Bureau of Utilities and their Technical Support Division. The Utility Design Division is focused on the engineering and construction of capital projects and water/wastewater system improvements, while the Bureau of Utilities is focused on the operation of the water/wastewater system. Projects managed by the Utility Design Division include: water distribution systems, wastewater collection systems, water storage, and water/wastewater pumping facilities.

The Division’s ongoing collaboration with Baltimore City, Baltimore County and the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission ensures an adequate public water supply and wastewater treatment system to Howard County.

The Division is responsible for development of the Howard County water and sewer design standards, as established in the Howard County Design Manual Volume II and detailed in Volume IV. 

Other responsibilities include providing recommendations on Metropolitan District incorporations, which allow property owners to be served by the County’s public water and sewer systems, and providing technical assistance in the review of plans and specifications for developer-funded water and wastewater projects.

How to Contact the Utility Design Division

Daniel L. Davis, Chief
9250 Bendix Road
Columbia, MD 21045
410-313-2040
Email the Utility Design Division

FAQs on Connecting to Public Water or Sewer

Who must connect to the public water or sewer system?

Connecting to the public water system is voluntary unless the Health Department has condemned your septic system.

When may I apply to connect to public water or sewer?

You may apply for a connection after the water and/or sewer main abutting your property is constructed and placed in service.

What costs are associated with connection to the public water or sewer system?

The costs associated with connecting to the water and/or sewer system are shown on the document titled "Water & Sewer House Connection Charges and Rate Schedule" in the Links section above.

Water - The cost for a water house connection consist of several charges: [1] The water house connection charge.  This charge pays for the cost of installing a connection from the water main to your property line.  [2] The water meter charge. This charge is for the water meter. [3] The water in-aid-of-construction charge. This charge helps cover the cost of construction of the water treatment and conveyance facilities to your home.

Sewer - The cost for a sewer house connection consists of several charges: [1] The sewer house connection charge. This charge pays for the cost of installing a connection from the sewer main to your property line. [2] The sewer in-aid-of-construction charge. This charge helps cover the cost of construction of the sewage collection and treatment facilities from your home.

Where the water and/or sewer house connections have not been previously installed, the property owner must contract privately, from the list of Howard County licensed On-Site Utility Contractors, for installation of the water and/or sewer house connection. The property owner is responsible for paying the cost of the On-Site Utility Contractor to install a connection from the utility main to the property line. In this scenario, the property owner is also charged a Construction Inspection fee and a water and/or sewer in-aid-of construction fee.

The cost of installing a connection from your house to the water and/or sewer house connection at your property lines is an additional and separate cost and varies according to the distance to your house and site conditions. Your plumber will be able to help you determine these costs.

What other fees or charges are applicable?

Metropolitan District and Other Charges - these charges include Ad Valorem and Front Foot Benefit  charges.  These charges are shown on the document titled "Water and Sewer House Connection Charges and Rate Schedule" in the Links section above.

Ad Valorem charges are assessed annually for as long as you own your property. If you are within the Metropolitan District, you are eligible for water and sewer service and you are currently paying ad valorem charges.

Front Foot Benefit charges are assessed annually for a period of 30 years.  If your property abuts a water and/or sewer main approved for funding appropriations before July 1, 2004, your property will be assessed front foot benefit charges. If your property abuts a water and/or sewer main approved for funding on or after July 1, 2004, your property will not be assessed front foot benefit charges.

Quarterly Account and Service Charges, shown on the document titled "Water and Sewer House Connection Charges and Rate Schedule" in the Links section above, are included quarterly on your water and sewer bill for the applicable water and/or sewer service provided to your property.

Where do I begin or get more information?

This FAQ is geared toward residential property owners seeking to connect to the public water and/or sewer system.  The typical new residential water house service connections are for 1-1/2 inch water with a 1 inch water meter or 1 inch water with a 3/4 inch meter. 

The typical new residential sewer house connections are 4” or 6”.
If your home is existing and/or abuts an existing public water and/or sewer main your next step is to contact the Bureau of Utilities at 410.313.4900.  Further information can be found on the Bureau of Utilities' website.

A Bureau representative will take your information and provide you with the necessary applications, discuss fees associated with your new service request and guide you through the application process.

If your home is new or you are developing either a residential or commercial property your next step is to contact the Department of  Planning and Zoning, Development Engineering Division at 410.313.2420. Further information can also be found on  DPZ's Land Development website.

A Department representative will take your information and provide you with the necessary applications, discuss fees associated with your new service request and guide you through the application process.

What if I currently do not have water and/or sewer abutting my property?

Please contact the Bureau of Engineering, Utility Design Division at 410.313.2040.  A Bureau representative will take your information and forward you to the Division Chief to discuss your service connection options, time frame and other particulars that may be unique to your situation.

What is an Advanced Deposit Order (ADO)?

An Advanced Deposit Order agreement is generally used for commercial property improvements.  An ADO is used for the construction of water service connections larger than 1-1/2 inch in diameter, sewer service connections larger than 6 inch in diameter, and short extensions (less than 200 linear feet) of the public water and sewer system.  These agreements are for a developer intending to construct water and/or sewer facilities within a County owned right-of-way or easement to serve a parcel and which ultimately will be accepted into the Howard County system and become publicly owned.  The total combined construction length of water and sewer facilities and appurtenances shall be less than 200 feet.  Additional information can be acquired from the Bureau of Utilities at 410.313.4900.