Get A Free Or Reduced Septic Tank

Do you know if it’s time for a new septic tank? Most tanks are designed to last 15-40 years when maintained correctly. Did you know that Maryland has a program that can save you a bundle on a new septic tank if your tank is nearing the end of its life, or even if you are looking to build a new home? Depending on homeowner income level, the Maryland Bay Restoration Fund can provide up to 50-100% of the cost of an approved Best Available Technology (BAT) septic tank, which costs between $11,000-$17,000.

BAT tanks are engineered to remove 50-85% more nitrogen from wastewater than conventional tanks, which is why they are also called advanced treatment systems or enhanced nutrient removal systems. This nitrogen, in the form of nitrate, can contaminate well water and pollute nearby waterways, leading to dead zones in the Chesapeake Bay—which is why the Bay Restoration funds are not eligible for installing conventional septic units.

remsberg_don jones samples septitech trash tank

The excessive rainfall of 2018 washed a particularly large amount of pollution from our yards, streets, and farms into the Bay, leading to a D+ grade. The state is trying to reduce these pollutants by helping homeowners and organizations upgrade their septic tanks. BAT tanks, like the one shown here, are so effective at treating wastewater that a sample of effluent taken from the tank is almost clear. (Photo by Edwin Remsberg)

County permitting offices manage the applications, using a tiered ranking system to determine funding support. The counties prioritize homes with failing septic systems located within 1,000-feet of tidal water, but they also support projects that may not meet these criteria. More than 14,000 BATs have been installed using these funds. Non-profit organizations are also eligible for up to 100% of the costs, and for-profit businesses are eligible for up to 50% of the costs. The fund also supports connecting to public sewer systems and, for lower income households, replacing drainfields.

If you’re considering a new septic tank, make sure to apply. Counties are allocated a specific amount per year, and unused funds are returned to the state. Those funds may as well go to your new tank!

The Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) has evaluated and approved nine BAT units for use in Maryland. These systems vary in design and efficiency. If you’re considering an upgrade, it’s important to solicit recommendations from at least three septic installers who are licensed to sell BAT tanks. Most septic professionals licensed to sell BAT units are limited to a few options, so you want to be able to understand how different models will work, how their installation will affect the look and use of your property, and how much you should expect to pay for the initial purchase and continue operation. MDE has extensive information on the nine systems including installation and maintenance costs, nitrogen removal, and electrical costs. To get more information, contact your county representative.

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