BRF Septic Upgrade Program

In accordance with the Bay Restoration Fund (BRF), money is collected annually from septic system users to upgrade onsite systems with the Best Available Technology (BAT) for nitrogen removal.

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 and Maryland Coastal Bays Critical Area (CBCA and MCBCA, i.e., property within 1,000 feet of mean high tide) be upgraded with BAT units.

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 Programs (EP) administers the program for Worcester County property owners.

The EP grant review will include assessing the availability of public sewer. If the subject property has access to public sewer and your system is failing or your property is in an area that is scheduled to have a public sewer in the near future, your request for funds may be denied and you may be required to connect to the public system.

The grant money may be used for the cost and installation of the BAT plus five 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. BRF grant money can also be used to pay for cost to abandon an existing septic system and connecting to public sewerage that is achieving enhanced nutrient removal (ENR). Residential properties will be eligible for funding based on homeowner income(PDF).



Any Worcester 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 and Maryland Coastal Bays Critical Area (MCBCA).
  • High Priority - Failing septic systems or holding tanks * outside the CBCA & MCBCA where a BAT unit is recommended or required by EPS based on site conditions.
  • Medium Priority - Non-failing septic system in the CBCA where a BAT unit is either requested by the property owner or required by EPS to support an expansion or renovation of an existing dwelling or business.
  • Low Priority - Non-failing septic systems in the CBCA where a BAT unit is required by EPS to support new construction.
  • Low Priority - Non-failing septic system outside the CBCA where a BAT unit is not considered necessary by EPS for adequate repair.

*Sites with holding tanks will only be considered if a viable soil-based disposal area can be identified.


Property Owner’s Responsibility

The property owner will be required to submit necessary application information and proof on income, and allow access for EP to conduct an initial site inspection. If approved, the property owner must sign and record an agreement (PDF) that acknowledges that the 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 form (PDF) to Department of Environmental Programs by:

Clicking This Link

Department of Environmental Programs
BRF Septic System Grant Upgrade Program
Government Center
1 West Market Street, Room 1201
Snow Hill, MD 21863

(410) 632-3008