In accordance with Bay Restoration Fund (BRF), money is collected annually from septic system users to upgrade onsite sewage disposal systems (septic systems) with the Best Available Technology (BAT) for nitrogen removal. State law also allows BRF money to be used to pay for properties on septic systems to be connected to public sewer.
The goal of the program is to reduce nutrients getting into the Chesapeake Bay. Consequently, the law requires that failing systems located within the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area (CBCA, i.e., property within 1,000 feet of mean high tide) be upgraded with BAT units or connected to public sewer. Other septic systems, including failing systems outside of the CBCA may also be eligible for grant money depending on funding availability (see below). The Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability (EPS) administers the program for Baltimore County property owners.
Any Baltimore County property owner may apply for the grant money. However, available funds will be prioritized in accordance with the following:
- Highest Priority
Failing septic systems or holding tanks in the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area (CBCA)
- High Priority
Failing septic systems or holding tanks outside the CBCA where the Department finds a BAT is necessary due to limited lot size, shallow ground water, poor soils or inadequate distance from septic system to water supplies, or surface waters of the state.
Note: Sites with holding tanks will only be considered for a BAT if a viable soil-based disposal area can be identified.
- Medium-High Priority
Non-conforming septic systems in the CBCA
- Medium-Low Priority
Non-conforming septic systems outside the CBCA
- Low Priority
Non-failing septic systems in the CBCA where a BAT is required to support new construction
- Low Priority
Non-failing septic system outside the CBCA where a BAT is required to support new construction
The EPS grant review will include assessing the availability of public sewer. If the subject property has access to public sewer, a grant will only be approved for a sewer connection. If your septic system is failing and you are in an area that is scheduled to have a public sewer in the near future, your request for funds may be delayed until public sewer is available.
For BAT installation, the grant money may be used for the cost and installation of the BAT plus two years of maintenance. It may not be used for the cost of the drainfield (except for qualifying low income owners) or for permit or recordation fees. For public sewer connections, the grant money may be used for cost of connection, as well as sewer system connection fees and permits.
Residential properties with household incomes less than $300,000 per year are eligible for 100 percent funding. All non-profit entities are eligible for 100 percent funding. Non-residential properties are eligible for 50 percent funding of the project cost.
The property owner will be required to submit the necessary application information and proof of income, and allow access for EPS to conduct an initial site inspection. If approved for a BAT installation, the property owner must sign and, if necessary, record an agreement that acknowledges that the BAT system must be maintained by a qualified operator for as long as the septic system is in use, and allows the County to periodically conduct onsite inspections to ensure that the BAT unit is operating satisfactorily.
Download, complete and submit the application formto EPS by mail, fax or email.
Environmental Protection and Sustainability
Ground Water Management
BRF Grant Program
111 West Chesapeake Avenue, Room 305
Towson, Maryland 21204
Find more detailed information about the BRF Grant program.