Talbot County Approves Additional Oversight of the Lakeside at Trappe Development

Talbot County Council agreed yesterday to review the Lakeside at Trappe development project at each phase of development.

The proposal for additional oversight (Resolution 338, Amendment No.1) passed at the Council’s April 9 meeting, enabling Talbot County to ensure the project’s progress is consistent with the county’s comprehensive plan and minimizes harm to the surrounding environment and community. 

For years, Eastern Shore residents have sought assurance from local leaders that the project will not negatively impact schools, roads, emergency services, and other investments paid for by taxpayers. The council’s action demonstrates that county leaders share those concerns. It also aligns local oversight with state wastewater permit requirements, which include a major permit modification for any future expansion at Lakeside. 

Last year in Talbot County Circuit Court, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) challenged Lakeside’s wastewater permit issued by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). Ruling in favor of MDE, the court cited the agency’s broad discretion to set and administer wastewater permit terms, even though CBF provided evidence that those terms violate state and federal law.

CBF appealed the decision in September and legal briefs were filed with the Appellate Court of Maryland earlier this year. The briefs describe how MDE’s permit for Lakeside does not ensure compliance with state water quality standards and could further degrade Talbot County’s streams, rivers, and the Chesapeake Bay.

The current discharge permit enables Lakeside to spray about 100,000 gallons per day of treated wastewater onto farm fields, an amount generated by an estimated 400 homes. MDE originally proposed to permit discharges up to 540,000 gallons per day, but that volume was scaled back after MDE received immense pushback from the community, CBF, and other groups. 

More than 100 homes have already been constructed at Lakeside, which are being served by Trappe’s existing sewage treatment plant until the new spray irrigation system that is being constructed comes online. Concerns remain over that system, which is planned to treat the waste from more than 2,000 additional homes yet to be built. The review provisions adopted by the county council this week provide additional oversight of the impacts Lakeside may cause to the community and the environment. 

CBF’s Maryland Advocacy Director Alan Girard said in a statement: 

“Lakeside is no longer being left up to chance. Talbot County Council’s decision to conduct limited oversight of the project is a positive step to protect residents and the environment. 

“The authority to periodically review Lakeside will give county officials an essential opportunity to evaluate the project’s impacts to the environment and public investments like schools, roads, and emergency services. 

“Questions remain over whether plans to spray treated wastewater from the project on farm fields will result in zero discharge of nitrogen to local waterways, as the Maryland Department of the Environment claims. Citizens, businesses, and CBF members who have long sought greater oversight for Lakeside appreciate the Talbot County Council’s decision to provide it.”



Valerie Keefer

Maryland Communications & Media Relations Manager, CBF

[email protected]

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