Bay Restoration Fund (BRF)

Guidance for billing authorities to establish programs for exempting certain residential users from paying the BRF fee because of substantial financial hardship  

The law allows, subject to approval by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), the billing authority to establish a program to exempt certain “residential” dwellings that demonstrate substantial financial hardship. 

The billing authorities may consider the factors below (or other similar financial hardship factors) in developing a program for exempting residential users from paying the Bay Restoration Fee, where the applicant meets at least two of the following conditions:

  • Receiving energy assistance subsidy;
  • Receiving public assistance - supplemental security income (SSI) or food stamps;
  • Receiving veterans or social security disability benefits;
  • Meeting the income criteria (See 

The individual exemptions should be for a specified time period not to exceed 1-year without re-verification of eligibility.  The proposed financial hardship exemption plan must be submitted to MDE for approval and should include the following information (see form below):

  • Proposed financial hardship exemption criteria
  • Application procedure and forms
  • Required supporting documentations for eligibility determination
  • Exemption time-period and process for re-verification of eligibility
  • Estimated number of residential users that may qualifying for the exemption

The proposed financial hardship exemption plan should be submitted to:

Maryland Department of the Environment  
1800 Washington Boulevard, STE 515
Baltimore, MD 21230-1718
Attn: Director, Maryland Water Quality Financing Administration

>  Click here to download form for preparing the proposed financial hardship exemption plan.