Calvert County Environmental Commission Challenges Residents to “Pump for the Bay”

August 31, 2022

16th Annual Pump for the Bay Septic System Pump-out ContestIn addition to the grand prize of a healthier Chesapeake Bay for all, the annual  “Pump for the Bay” contest, run by the Calvert County Environmental Commission, will award one lucky county resident up to $500 in reimbursement for a septic system pump-out or upgrade completed in 2022.

The contest is open to any Calvert County resident who hires a company to pump out their septic tank or upgrades to a nitrogen-removing tank between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2022.

County residents can enter by submitting a copy of their receipt along with a completed entry form before 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023. Full details and entry form are available online at

The “Pump for the Bay” contest is sponsored by the Calvert County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) and Department of Planning & Zoning.

The Environmental Commission will select one top prize winner in a drawing to be held at its Jan. 30, 2023, meeting. Additional prizes include gift certificates from local businesses and free passes to county recreational facilities. Winners will be notified by mail.

Proper upkeep of septic systems is critical to protect your home and the environment. With regular maintenance, a septic system is effective at safely getting rid of wastewater. However, a faulty septic system can result in problems with a home’s plumbing and can contaminate soil, groundwater and nearby surface waters.

Even when operating properly, conventional septic systems remove only about 10% of nitrogen from the effluent that flows from the septic tank into the drain field. Excess nitrogen can enter the groundwater and eventually enter the Chesapeake Bay, increasing algae growth. Excessive algae causes a decline in water quality, reduces marine plant and animal life and creates low-oxygen “dead zones.”

Homeowners can help reduce nitrogen pollution in the county’s waterways by pumping their home’s septic tank every 2-3 years or upgrading to a more efficient system that converts 50-75% of the effluent nitrogen to a gas and vents it harmlessly into the atmosphere.

The Environmental Commission was established in 1975 by the BOCC to promote recycling programs, alternative energy use and energy conservation; provide public education through outreach events; support other county environmental organizations; and advise the BOCC, the Department of Planning & Zoning and the Planning Commission on environmental matters. Learn more about the Calvert County Environmental Commission at