Written by: Michelle Kokolis, Program Manager, University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center


Image credit: Easton Utilities

The mission of the Maryland Water Infrastructure Financing Administration (WIFA) is to provide low interest rate loans under two Revolving Loan Fund Programs and grants under the State Bay Restoration Fund program for water quality, drinking water, and septic projects.


New Federal Opportunities for Funding

As a result of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), Maryland has received significant, new resources to fund water and wastewater infrastructure. These funds will be accessed through the Maryland State Revolving Loan Fund. The White House has created a fact sheet that describes the breadth of the new funding for Maryland.


The Maryland State Revolving Loan Fund (SRF)

The Maryland State Revolving Loan Fund (SRF) is a program that provides low-cost loans to municipalities, water and sewer utilities, and other public entities for water quality and drinking water projects. There are two main funds: clean water and drinking water. Both are available to public entities, however, drinking water is inclusive of public and privately owned community water systems and non-profit non-community water systems. The goals of the MD SRF are:

  • Improve water quality in Maryland’s rivers, streams, and lakes;
  • Protect the health of Marylanders by providing safe drinking water; and
  • Create jobs and stimulate the economy by investing in water infrastructure


The Maryland SRF works by providing loans to borrowers at below-market interest rates. Repayment terms can vary depending on the type of project (drinking water vs water quality/clean water) and whether or not the community is disadvantaged, and the loans can be used to finance a variety of water quality and drinking water projects, including:

  • Construction and rehabilitation of wastewater treatment plants
  • Construction and rehabilitation of drinking water treatment plants
  • Water distribution system improvements
  • Sewer collection system improvements, including septic system upgrades and sewer connections
  • Flood mitigation
  • Stormwater management projects
  • Source water protection projects
  • Nonpoint source pollution and watershed restoration


The Maryland SRF is a valuable resource for municipalities, water and sewer utilities, and other entities that are looking to finance water quality and drinking water projects. Not only do low-cost loans make these projects more affordable, but with an extended period of time to repay the loans, many borrowers find the terms are more manageable than commercial options. Additional information about all of the funding programs available to Maryland systems can be found on the WIFA website.


Who is Eligible for Funding from the Maryland SRF?

The Maryland SRF is available to municipalities, water and sewer utilities, and other public entities that are located in Maryland. Under certain circumstances, the SRF is also available to private and nonprofit organizations that are engaged in water quality and drinking water projects. To be eligible for funding from the Maryland SRF, borrowers must meet the following criteria:

  • Be located in Maryland.
  • Be a public entity, although limited private entities and nonprofit organization are eligible.
  • Demonstrate a need for funding. This could be due to a lack of other sources of funding, the high cost of the project, or the urgency of the project.
  • Be able to repay the loan. This means that the borrower must have a stable financial history and the ability to generate enough revenue to cover the loan payments.


It is important that each applicant meets pre-requisite conditions before applying. First, by state law, the SRF funding is only available to fund projects which are consistent with the priority funding areas (PFA), unless there is an approved exception. Second, any project seeking funding should be consistent with a county water and sewer (W&S) plan approved by MDE. This document provides additional tips for making sure your project can be considered for funding.


How Do I Apply for Funding from the SRF?

To apply for funding from the Maryland SRF, borrowers must submit an application to the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). The open period for applications runs from December 1- January 31st each year. The application must include the following information:

  • The name and contact information of the borrower
  • The location of the project
  • The type of project
  • The budget of the project
  • The amount of funding requested
  • A description of how the project will benefit the environment and the community


The Maryland Water Infrastructure Financing Administration (WIFA) also offers several competitive grant programs.

  • The Bay Restoration (Wastewater) Fund was created to provide grants for projects resulting in Enhanced Nutrient Removal (ENR), improvements to existing wastewater conveyance systems, sewer extensions to connect homes on septic to WWTP, flood mitigation and resilience and watershed restoration projects, and several other project types.
  • The Bay Restoration Fund Septic Fund was created for the purpose of providing grants for the upgrade of septic systems with nitrogen removal best available technologies which is administered through the counties.
  • The Supplemental Assistance Program provides grant assistance to local governments for planning, design, and construction of wastewater improvements needed to address high priority public health or water quality problems. Funding priority is for small, disadvantaged communities.
  • The Water Supply Financial Assistance Program provides grant assistance to small communities in the acquisition, construction, rehabilitation, and improvement of publicly-owned water supply facilities throughout the State. Funding priority is given to disadvantaged communities and/or communities that are non-compliant with drinking water standards.
  • The Comprehensive Flood Management Grant Program (CFMGP) provides matching grants to local governments for projects which increase flood resilience and restore natural floodplain including infrastructure retrofits, emergency preparedness measures, and watershed restoration.

Accessing Technical Assistance

The SRF Program at WIFA provides technical assistance to borrowers, which can help them to develop and implement their projects, and can be reached at (410) 537-3119.

Additionally, the EPA has designated The University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center (UMD EFC) a Regional Water Infrastructure Center for the mid-Atlantic, with the sole purpose of providing free technical assistance to communities in order to help the access BIL funding. UMD EFC has assembled a robust team of project partners to assist communities with this process, including Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project (SERCAP), Maryland Rural Development Corporation, and Maryland Sea Grant Extension Watershed Restoration Specialists.