If state environmental officials adopt a formula proposed by Hagerstown to determine its sewage treatment capacity, a potential state-imposed moratorium on new sewage connections and building permits in the city next spring could be averted.
A moratorium could delay new home building, City Water and Sewer Department Manager David Shindle said last week.
The City Council last week authorized Shindle to pursue the new formula with the Maryland Department of the Environment.
Shindle said if the state enforces its own formula when it makes its annual determination of sewage treatment capacity next March, it would show the city's sewage system is beyond its capacity.
"We would be in big trouble," Shindle said.
MDE spokesman Richard McIntire said last week that imposing a moratorium is rare in water and sewer issues.
"We reserve the right to use that authority, but it's not done that often," McIntire said.
He said that governments are given some flexibility to show they are on top of growth issues, and that it sounds like Hagerstown has begun taking care of its problems early.