The Act requires that, on property owned in the Critical Area, all onsite sewage disposal systems (OSDS) serving newly constructed buildings and all replacement OSDS include the best available technology for removing nitrogen (BAT). SB 554 is effective October 1, 2009. Any septic system installed in the Critical Area that is started after October 1, 2009 will have to include BAT.
Best Available Technology for Nitrogen Removal (BAT) means an OSDS nitrogen removal system approved for use and funding in the Bay Restoration Fund (BRF). .
A list of approved BAT systems can be found at: BAT Systems.
The Act applies:
The law provides no grandfathering provision based on the date of application or the date a permit is issued. BAT is required on septic system installations after October 1, 2009 in the Critical Area even if permits had already been obtained.
Based on the availability of funds in accordance with the Annotated Code of Maryland, the BRF can pay for the cost difference between a traditional system and one that includes BAT. The Annotated Code specifies that grants can be made for up to 100 percent of the BAT cost with priority first given to failing systems located in the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Critical Area and then to failing systems that the Department determines are a threat to public health or water quality.
Additional financial assistance may be available though the following programs:
A subtraction modification against personal income tax for upgrade costs (less any Bay Restoration Fund assistance) may apply to tax years beginning after December 31, 2009.
Senate Bill 554 authorizes fines up to $8000 for installation of a septic system on property in the Critical Area after October 1, 2009. In addition, MDE has stated that enforcement of the Acts requirements may include seeking injunctive orders. The Cecil County Health Department would be unable to approve any permits for properties that have not complied with this Act.