Septic Upgrade Grant Funding Available for Charles County Residents

Grants Will Help Reduce Nitrogen Runoff That is Killing our Waterways

LA PLATA, Md. - The Charles County Commissioners and the Charles County Department of Health today announced that grant funding will be available to homeowners wishing to upgrade their on-site sewage disposal system with nitrogen removal capability. The grant funding will also pay for the first five years of maintenance. These funds are made available through the fees paid to the Bay Restoration Fund by owners of on-site sewage disposal systems.

Traditional on-site sewage disposal systems, as installed in Charles County over the past 100 years, protect human health by disposing of wastewater effluent below the ground surface, thereby limiting human and animal contact. These systems do not remove nitrogen. Nitrogen is discharged with the effluent into the soil and then migrates with groundwater into nearby stream channels, as well as local estuaries, rivers, and the Chesapeake Bay, causing the over enrichment of unwanted nutrients.

Many waterways in Charles County are experiencing a decline in water quality due to over enrichment of unwanted nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen. This over enrichment affects the health of shellfish and fin fish, and limits recreational use of the waterways. The major contributors to nutrient discharge into local waterways are wastewater effluent, and urban and agricultural run-off.

The local government is urging citizens to take advantage of the offer for the sake of the local environment. In a statement released today, the government noted, "Upgrading your on-site sewage disposal system with nitrogen removal capability will help Charles County take an important step towards improving local water quality and providing a healthier environment for shellfish, fin-fish, and recreational users of the waterways."

Residents who would like to be considered for the grant funds must submit a pre-application form. This form is available at the Charles County Department of Health, 4545 Crain Highway, White Plains, or on the Charles County Department of Health's web site at .

If you have any questions or need further information, contact the Charles County Department of Health at 301-609-6751.

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