Small Community Grant Program (SCG)

The Maine Legislature has approved $3,000,000 in State Fiscal Recovery funding, provided by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, to fund projects under the Small Community Grant program. The total remaining funds will be distributed in 2024.

Grant Applications must be submitted to the SCG Coordinator by April 15, 2024, before 5pm to be considered for the 2024 initial program. Aapplications can be submitted year-round, but funding may not be available.

The Department will assess the applications and send a letter to the Municipality on or before May 10, 2024, determining grant eligibility.


What is the purpose?

The Small Community Grant Program provides grants to municipalities to help replace malfunctioning septic systems that are polluting a waterbody or causing a public nuisance. An existent pollution problem must be documented to qualify for funding.

Grants can be used to fund from 25% to 100% of the design and construction costs, depending upon the property owners' income and the property's use. The municipality receives the grant as a reimbursement for eligible costs of the replacement septic system after substantial completion of the construction.

What are the program priorities?

When funds are available, grants are awarded based on financial need of the property owner, as well as the negative environmental impacts of a system. The program prioritizes and awards funding to replace systems which are: (1) Contaminating a public drinking water supply, (2) polluting a shellfishing area, (3) discharging into a body of water, or (4) creating a public nuisance condition. The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) grants are not available to provide septic systems for new homes or for the replacement of a septic system that was constructed after July 1, 1974 and was not constructed in compliance with the Maine Subsurface Wastewater Disposal Rules at that time. Grant applications must be submitted by the municipality in which the property owner resides.

How does the eligibility work?

Residential owners may qualify for the grant program if their federal taxable income for the previous year was $40,000 or less. For those who are not required to file Federal taxes, a Statement of Non-filing can be completed.
Commercial establishments may qualify if their gross profit for the previous year was $100,000 or less.

A sliding-scale determines an eligible applicant’s grant percentage based on income (or profit) from the most recent fiscal year. Applicants are not eligible for grant assistance if their income exceeds these figures, and are required to provide evidence that they meet the requirements. Participants in the program are also required to grant an easement to the town allowing construction and inspection of the system.

$0 TO $5,000 100% 50%
$5,001 TO $20,000 90% 50%
$20,001 TO $30,000 50% 25%
$30,001 TO $40,000 25% 25%
$40,001 OR MORE 0% 0%


$0 TO $50,000 50%
$50,001 TO $100,000 25%
$100,001 OR MORE 0%

Municipal systems which collect user fees: the grant percentage is 90%.

For structures with multiple uses, the funding percentages will be prorated based on the wastewater flows generated by each use, as shown on the wastewater disposal system design.

Where can I find more information?

The SCG Program Handbook contains instructions for each stage of the process, Frequently Asked Questions, along with the Project Milestone Checklist, which outlines the steps from application to project completion. All the forms can be downloaded and printed individually from the list below. If you cannot print any of the forms from the website, please contact the SCG Coordinator to have a hard copy sent to you.

The contains a step process for providing all the information needed to replace a malfunctioning septic system. All the forms can be downloaded and printed individually from the list below. If you cannot print any of the forms from the website, please contact the SCG Coordinator to have a hard copy sent to you.

How does the municipality apply?

A complete SCG Application contains the following:

All documents can be submitted to the SCG coordinator, Robert Hartley.

What are the owner's responsibilities?

After receiving a grant offer from the Department, the Municipality will request the following be completed by the property owner(s):

How to proceed with the project design and bidding?

Replacement systems with flows of less than 2,000 gallons per day (gpd) should be designed by a practicing Site Evaluator. Systems with larger flow requirements need to be designed by an engineer. The design should be submitted to the Department for review and needs to be approved by a Local Plumbing Inspector (LPI) before construction.

Once a design is approved, the Town can advertise for bids. A sample advertisement can be found in the Program Handbook. The Municipality must decide before bidding whether to award a separate contract for each individual septic system or a single contract to build all the systems. The chosen method of awarding the bids must be made clear to bidders, and the correct instructions to bidders and bid form should be used. The following documents make up the bidding package that must be provided to ALL bidders:

How to proceed with the contract award?

The Department must be sent the following documents:

  • A copy of the low bid
  • A tabulation of all bids received and prices
  • A letter from the Municipality indicating intent to award the project(s)
  • A copy of the bid advertisement from the local paper

Contract(s) shall be awarded to the lowest bidder unless DEP approval is given to do otherwise. The contract(s) should not be signed until an approval letter is received from DEP.

How does the municipality get reimbursed?


Robert Hartley, P.E. (207) 881-9490
Senior Environmental Engineer
Division of Water Quality Management
17 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0017

Statutory section

Title 38, Chapter 3, § 411 (off-site)


Chapter 592, The Small Community Wastewater Program (off-site)