So, what is the Maryland Homeowner Reimbursement Fund, anyway? How does it relate to oil tank removals?
Well, in short, Maryland will give you money towards your oil tank removal.
If you have a residential heating oil tank in Maryland and the tank leaked, or you have a spill and the tank is removed, there is additional costs for soil cleanup and remediation. The State of Maryland has a fund that will reimburse you, the homeowner, for the cost of the tank removal and other out-of-pocket costs for cleaning up of the site, less a $500 deductible.
Of course, here are some rules with this program and there is paperwork to fill out for this program. But rest assured that when you use GreenTRAX, Inc. to perform the work, we will make everything easy for you.
How It Works
Let’s talk about some specifics of the program.
First, although this fund is sometime referred to as the:
- residential site cleanup reimbursement fund
- tank grant program
- Maryland grant.
…this is NOT a grant. This is a reimbursement.
You, the homeowner, will have to pay the contractor, then the state will pay you back… eventually (but more on that later).
The property must be residentially zoned. If the property is commercial, you will NOT qualify. You also must own the property personally, meaning if you own it under a corporation name, you will not qualify. You can own the property as a single individual, as a married couple or own it with someone else, that is fine. The property may also be in an estate or a trust name, and you will still qualify.
Now, this is a little bit of a gray area, but you also may be able to own the property in a single individual LLC or company and possibly still qualify.
Common questions about the Maryland Homeowner Reimbursement Fund:
I cannot afford the cleanup; can’t the state just pay you (GreenTRAX) directly?
NO – the state will never pay the contractor; they only REIMBURSE the homeowner.
Will the EPA show up at my house?
NO, – the federal EPA has nothing to do with this. This is all through the state program.
How long will it take to get my money back?
Currently as of the middle of 2021, there is a significant backlog of applicants. Historically it used to always take 6 – 9 months for people to get money back, however after 2015 a backlog started to grow and money for the fund came into the program more slowly and the waiting period has gotten longer and longer ever since 2015. The starting point is 24 months and longer (sometimes much longer).
Who do I need to call at the MDE (Maryland Dept. of Enviro.) and complain about how long it takes to get my money back?
Answer – no one. More on that below, but MDE has no control over money.
The Maryland Homeowner Reimbursement Fund sounds like a lot of paperwork.
Well, that depends on your definition of a lot. Is it 1 page? NO. Is it 50 pages? NO. But don’t worry GreenTRAX will help you through the process, we will take care of all the technical stuff. That way you just need to fill out your personal information such as name address contact information. See, not so tough right?
Can’t GreenTRAX just wait to get paid until I get the money from the state?
NO, you will not even be able to submit the paperwork to the state, until the contractor is
paid in full, AND you show proof of payment. Credit card receipt, bank statement, etc.
If I move, do I still get my money?
YES – Many times, work is performed and paid for by the seller of a property, then shortly after someone else owns the property. The property owner that pays for the work at the time we remove the tank gets the benefit of the Maryland Homeowner Reimbursement Fund. Also if you move, say a year after the work is done and you haven’t received your money, you can submit a revised payment form with your new address on it. The MDE will mail the check to your new address.
Do I have to submit the application to the state before I go to settlement and sell the property?
NO – again, removal buried oil tanks frequently happens around settlement. All the paperwork WITH proof of payment is commonly completed after you move. You also have six months to submit the reimbursement application after the work is complete. If you don’t submit the application within six months of onsite work completion. don’t bother. You missed your chance.
I pay my home insurance company for an additional rider on my policy that covers the oil tank and the leak cleanup, can I still get reimbursement from the state?
NO, you can get one or the other, not both. If the insurance company pays for everything but your deductible, then you don’t submit for reimbursement. If the insurance company only pays a portion of the bill, then the state can reimburse you for the portion the insurance company didn’t cover.
What costs does the Maryland Homeowner Reimbursement Fund cover?
Now, let’s talk about what costs are covered. If you have a residential above- OR underground heating oil tank that has leaked OR an underground heating oil tank that leaked, you are covered. If you have a gasoline tank and it leaked, you are NOT covered. The cost you pay to the licensed contractor for the actual tank removal is covered. You must have the work done by a licensed tank removal contractor. DO NOT call your HVAC guy, plumber, general contractor, your friend Billy with a backhoe, or your cousin who knows a guy. The work must be performed by an MDE licensed tank removal contractor.
- contaminated soil excavation, removal, and disposal
- clean backfill soil
- reasonable landscaping costs
- disposal fees of waste/sludge etc.
- other costs associated with the contaminated soil removal and disposal
- soil samples as required by MDE
Also, you can get reimbursed if other work is needed to remove contaminated soil including removal and reinstallation of:
- concrete asphalt
Contractor fees for disconnecting and connecting HVAC facilities may also be covered if associated with the tank removal.
The important thing for all the ancillary work is to have it done by a contractor who can provide you with a real invoice. If you perform the work yourself, you will not get reimbursed for your time. It makes the whole process easier and cleaner if you just pay someone to do the ancillary work, rather than trying to provide receipts for materials.
Is there anything I can do, or someone I can complain to about the length of time it takes to wok through the Maryland Homeowner Reimbursement Fund?
YES! Call, email, write, text, snail mail or carrier pigeon your STATE representatives in ANNAPOLIS.
NOTE – Your federal reps in Washington DC have NOTHING to do with this process, so calling them won’t do any good.
You need to call the Maryland Governor’s office, but more importantly your STATE Senator and STATE Delegate’s office’s in Annapolis. Try to speak to them personally, not just to the person who answers the phone. Send them an actual written letter in the mail. Or better yet, show up at their office and make an appointment to meet with them.
Remember, they represent you and they work for you, not the other way around. You have the right to meet with them. They are the ones who control the money to the reimbursement fund. Bug them and bug them often. The more people we can get to complain about the backlog, maybe we can get more money funded to the program and get people their money back faster.
As always Call GreenTRAX with any questions you may have and let us help you with your tank project. 410-439-1085