There are two sets of regulations governing camp operations, COMAR 10.16.03 (campgrounds) and COMAR 10.16.06 (youth camps). Campground permits are issued by the Harford County Health Department, while youth camp certificates are issued by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH). Specific operational parameters determine which set of regulations apply.
All campgrounds and youth camps receive an annual environmental inspection through the Harford County Health Department, with youth camps receiving an additional inspection through DHMH. Routine inspections are also performed by the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Harford County Department of Inspections, Licenses, and Permits (DILP). DILP houses the Building, Plumbing, and Electrical Services Divisions. In order to obtain a campground permit or youth camp certificate, compliance with criminal history records check law, as well as the State Worker’s Compensation Act, must be demonstrated.
A letter is mailed to all camp operators in February of each year advising them of the requirement to schedule an inspection with the Harford County Health Department. Inspections are scheduled from late March through early June. Camp operators are required to have their facilities in normal operating condition on their appointment date. Operators will be notified, through the February correspondence, of the pre-arranged inspection date with the building, plumbing, and electrical inspectors. The Harford County Health Department will request inspections of all camp facilities by the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office on behalf of camp operators.
Camps serviced by private drinking water wells are required to demonstrate potability of the water supply. Sampling and analysis must be performed by a private laboratory.
If the camp operation is seasonal in nature, nitrate and bacteriological testing of each well is required prior to opening, with a second round of bacteriological sampling conducted during the period of operation. If the operation is year round, bacteriological samples must be collected each calendar quarter from all wells on the property. An annual nitrate sample from each well is also required.
Questions regarding youth camps should be directed to the Division of Community Services, DHMH, 6 St. Paul Street, Suite 1301, Baltimore, MD 21202-1608. The office may be reached at 410-767-8417.