Counties usually stay out of each other’s business, but the Baltimore County Council voted unanimously on Monday night to oppose a Harford County megachurch’s plans to build a wastewater treatment plant.
Council members’ opposition to Mountain Christian Church’s proposal stems from plans to release discharge from the treatment plant in Joppa into a tributary of the Gunpowder River, which flows into Baltimore County.
On any given Sunday, as many as 3,000 people worship at the church. Its septic system is failing and is in violation of state environmental regulations. The Maryland Department of the Environment says the wastewater treatment plant is the best fix.
In addition to expressing opposition to the proposed plant, the County Council resolution also criticizes MDE for not notifying Baltimore County about what was happening.
Councilman Wade Kach said the issue sets a precedent.
“If MDE does not put a stop to this, I can see Harford County and other counties doing the same thing,” Kach said.
Although it is unusual for the Baltimore County Council to weigh in on plans in Harford County, “the wastewater will affect Baltimore County communities from Kingsville to points south,” said Councilman David Marks, who cosponsored the resolution.
Harford County officials said the planning and permitting process has been public and Baltimore County should have known about it.
MDE has not said when to expect a final decision on the permit.
Mountain Christian Church declined to comment about the council’s action.
Church officials have said they want to do what is best for the environment.