Frequently Asked Questions – Bay Restoration Fund

1. Where do I get an application for the Bay Restoration Fund?

A Grant Application for Nitrogen-Reducing Advanced Treatment Unit (ATU) can be downloaded off of the Health Department website and then sent in via mail, email, or fax per the instructions on the form.  Alternatively, residents can visit the Health Department for a printed application.

2. Who is eligible for grant funding?  

All St. Mary’s County property owners that utilize an Onsite Septic System are eligible for funding.  This includes new construction, residential, commercial and business-owned properties.

3. When is the installation of a Nitrogen-Reducing Advanced Treatment Unit (ATU) required?

Within the 1000 foot Critical Area Buffer – All properties located within the 1000 foot Critical Area Buffer are required to include an ATU when either upgrading, installing or replacing the septic system.

Outside the 1000 foot Critical Area Buffer – Additionally, for new construction/upgrades outside of the 1000 foot Critical Area buffer, an ATU is required when upgrading, installing or replacing the septic system unless the existing septic system is failing.  At this time, the only properties not required by law to install an ATU are properties located outside of the 1000 foot Critical Area buffer that have a failing septic system.

4. What does the grant cover? 

The grant addresses the cost of the ATU, installation of the ATU, electrical hookup of the ATU, and 5 years Operation and Maintenance.  The grant does not cover permit or recordation fees which can range from $53-$200.

5. Does the ATU use electricity? 

Yes.  Each ATU has an electrical component as part of the system.  The electrical consumption varies between each ATU and should be researched by the property owner when choosing an ATU.

6. Who chooses which ATU to have installed?

It is the property owner’s decision which ATU he or she would like to have installed on his or her property.  Either the property owner or the licensed septic contractor can contact the distributor directly.

7. Who installs the ATU?

All ATUs must be installed by a St. Mary’s County licensed septic contractor that has also been certified by Maryland Department of the Environment to install ATUs.

8. What does the ATU look like once installed?

The ATU is a below-the-ground unit with access covers that are either at-grade or slightly above grade.

9. If I own more than one property, can I apply for grant funding more than once?

Yes.  Each property served by an Onsite Septic System is eligible for grant funding.

10. Do I pay for the ATU and then get reimbursed?

No.  Grant funding is awarded for the property but payment is made to the distributors of the ATUs once the unit has been inspected.  Grant funding must be approved prior to installation of the ATU.