Design Review

Engineering, Planning & Design Review

As development occurs where public water and sewer are planned, developers must submit numerous documents for approval by many County agencies. DUSWM routinely provides reviews to the Planning and Permitting Division on all types of plans submitted, where County public water and sewer are affected (not municipalities). For example, DUSWM provides technical reviews on rezoning cases, Phase II PUD plans, preliminary (Phase III) plans, site plans, sketch plans, board of appeals cases, determinations of adequacy for the county's Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO) and amendments to the water and sewer plan, to name a few.


These technical reviews require a detailed understanding of the water and sewer infrastructure components and the interdependency of the demands made by the developments, which ultimately impact the County's ability to consistently deliver adequate water and sewer services. In DUSWM's case, the Planning and Design Review section must review for compliance with the APFO for water and sewer.
  • For water systems, staff must determine if there are adequate source facilities, storage tanks, pumping stations and sufficient capacity to provide maximum daily demand and meet peak hourly demands during fire flows.  The distribution system must be capable of providing minimum required residual pressure to the development.
  • For sewerage systems, staff must determine if adequate capacity exists in the infrastructure (treatment facilities, pumping stations, interceptors and collector sewers) to accommodate ultimate peak flows.
A water or wastewater system is considered adequate if remaining capacity exists after an accounting considers all existing connections, future connections from buildings under construction, recorded lots for which allocations have been made, or other legal commitments. Additionally, an accounting of reserved capacities pertaining to state and/or local laws and certain legal commitments by the County (i.e., public works agreements, multi-year tap agreements, etc.), must be carefully tracked to avoid over-allocating the infrastructure. 

Improvement Plans

Once planning concerns are addressed, the detailed design for a site is submitted for review and approval. These plans are referred to as improvement plans. DUSWM is a key approval agency when public water and sewer are present (but not necessarily within municipalities). DUSWM's Planning and Design Review section reviews improvement plans and coordinates the requirements described in the Design Manual for Water and Sewer Facilities, General Conditions and Standard Specifications for Water Mains, Sanitary Sewers and Related Structures (Standard Specifications), Standard Details for Water Mains, Sanitary Sewers and Related Structures (Standard Details), and the Water and Sewer Rules and Regulations. These documents are located in the Reference Documents.  Along with other important legal documents, i.e., easements, public works agreements, public improvement agreements, construction contracts, etc., the approved improvement plans become an important instrument to effect proper construction of water and sewer infrastructure.

Easements and Real Property

All public water and sewer infrastructure entails DUSWM review and approval of legal documents that provide perpetual ownership (or property rights) for its infrastructure, either required by the developer or via a CIP project. Because the legal documents are recorded among the Land Records of Frederick County, careful coordination and review is required between many County agencies, most importantly the Office of the County Attorney. DUSWM's Planning and Design Review section typically must coordinate the improvement plan design with the easement/real property submissions and final plats of subdivision. Sample easement documents and instructions can be found in DUSWM's Reference Documents.

Water and Sewer Service Inquires

The public oftentimes has questions about the location and planning of the water and sewer infrastructure. Property owners, real estate agents, developers, assessors, attorneys, engineers and surveyors, to name a few, have a wide range of questions that pertain to public water and sewer service. Generally, DUSWM's Planning and Design Review section provides service inquiry letters for properties planned (or served) by public water and sewer. In order to provide this letter, the following information is necessary:
  • Property owner's name and mailing address
  • Premise or property address, tax map and parcel number, or tax identification number (contact the Department of Assessments and Taxation)
  • Real estate agent's (buyer or seller) name, mailing address, and telephone number
  • Requestor's name, mailing address, and telephone number
  • Specific water and sewer questions or information desired about the property

To submit your information online, please complete the Request for Information Regarding Connection to County Water and/or Sewer and a staff member will respond to your request in writing.

DUWSM does not address questions regarding storm water management, storm drains, ditches or other "water" like uses. These questions should be directed to the Planning and Permitting Division or appropriate municipal/state agencies. Please note: Municipal water and sewer requests should be made to the respective jurisdiction.