USDA seeking applications to build/repair rural household water and septic systems

Deadline to apply is July 19


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development is accepting applications for grants from qualified nonprofits and tribes to create loan funds to help rural homeowners finance household water and septic systems.

The Rural Decentralized Water Systems Grant Program does not provide funding directly to individual homeowners. Instead, qualified nonprofits and tribal lending institutions may use the grants to establish revolving loan funds that provide affordable loans to homeowners that need new household water or septic systems.

Applicants must have expertise in lending activities and household water well or septic systems, and they must provide matching funds of 10 percent. The grants are awarded on a competitive basis.

The loans may be used for the construction or repair of individually-owned household water well systems. Effective this year, USDA has expanded the eligible use of funds to also include building or repairing septic systems. The wells and septic systems installed or repaired with this financing must serve existing homes in a rural area with a population of 50,000 or less.

The revolving loan funds may provide loans of up to $15,000 per household at a one percent fixed interest rate over 20 years. Also new this year, lending institutions can now use the funds to provide grants to homeowners that earn less than 60 percent of the area median income.

These changes are expected to greatly increase the number of households that can participate in the program, providing improved access to safe, clean water and waste disposal throughout rural America.

Applications must be submitted electronically through by no later than 8:59 p.m. Pacific Time on July 19, 2021.

For additional information, or to discuss a potential application, contact Ella Nichols, Community Programs Specialist, (503) 414-3354, [email protected]


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