Jon M. Laria, Managing Partner of Ballard Spahr’s Baltimore office, has been named Vice Chair of a state task force that will study the effect of septic systems on development of rural land. Mr. Laria is a political ally of Gov. Martin O’Malley, who appointed the task force, and Chair of the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission.

The task force comprises business, agriculture, science, environmental advocacy, and government leaders. Its creation follows a debate during the 2011 General Assembly over the proposed Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act. According to studies, in the next 25 years, 26 percent of residential units built in the State will have septic systems, which are expected to create 76 percent of new nitrogen pollution in the Chesapeake Bay and other Maryland waterways and tributaries.