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Maryland State Government Maryland Department of the Environment

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Maryland's Nitrogen-Reducing Septic Upgrade Program

There are approximately 420,000 septic systems in Maryland. Of these, 52,000 systems are located within the “Critical Area,” land within 1,000 feet of tidal waters. The typical septic system does not remove nitrogen, instead delivering about 24.32 pounds of nitrogen per year to the groundwater. An upgraded, nitrogen-removing septic system cuts a system’s nitrogen load in half.  The Maryland Department of the Environment has upgraded over 5,000 septic systems to nitrogen removing Best Available Technology (BAT) through the Bay Restoration Fund (BRF) Onsite Sewer Disposal System (OSDS) grant program.

Due to very high demand, the Maryland Department of the Environment now prioritizes funding for septic system upgrades toward those systems that pose the greatest threat to clean waterways and drinking water. In accordance with State law, the Bay Restoration Fund prioritizes upgrades as follows:

1. Failing OSDS or holding tanks in the Critical Areas

2. Failing OSDS or holding tanks not in the Critical Areas

3. Non-failing OSDS in the Critical Areas including new BAT installation

4. Non-failing OSDS outside the Critical Areas


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Additional Information

County Contacts - Effective July 1, 2010, the Septic BAT Program will be implemented by local County Health Departments or Other parties.

Best Available Technology  

Best Available Technology selection process  

Bedroom Capacity for Field-Verified Best Available Technology

Bay Restoration Fund Implementation Guidance (Updated) FY 2015

Bay Restoration Fund Operation and Maintenance Guidance

Q & A - Guidance for Implementing Revised COMAR Best Available Technology for Removal of Nitrogen (BAT) 

Ranking Documentation

Waterless Toilet Systems

County Reporting Form (Grant Administrator use Only)

Field Verified Sampling Results

Contact Info

If you have additional questions or would like more information, please contact the Wastewater Permits Program, Onsite Systems Division at 410-537-3778.

Related Links 


The Maryland Department of the Environment thanks you for your continued interest and support of this important program.

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