Septic need a fix?

EWEB expands grant program

 

February 8, 2024 | View PDF



EUGENE: After allocating close to $850,000 to help McKenzie Valley homeowners repair or replace septic systems damaged in the Holiday Farm Fire, the Eugene Water & Electric Board is facing a September 1 deadline to distribute over $1 million that comes from federal grant funding.

Eligible grantees can receive up to $35,000, depending on the type of septic system and household income qualifications.

Previously, the grants were eligible only for properties that sustained damage in the Holiday Farm Fire.

Now, the grants will be available for properties within the following areas: Properties within the Holiday Farm Fire footprint. Properties within the McKenzie Watershed, above Hayden Bridge.

EWEB can offer these Septic System Repair and Replacement Grants thanks to a collaboration with Lane County and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Onsite Financial Aid Program (OSFAP). Both Lane County and DEQ OSFAP received federal funds from the American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) and chose to partner with EWEB to distribute the money to affected residents.

To receive Septic System Grant funding through ARPA, applicants must meet the following criteria:

The applicant must be the current property owner.

Septic system repairs or installation must be completed by the property owner or a Licensed Onsite System Installer, certified by the DEQ.

Completed septic projects must be inspected by Lane County, with permit status listed as “final.”

If applicants are outside of the Holiday Farm Fire footprint, they must have a household income below 300% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

EWEB encourages those needing to repair or replace septic systems within the above eligible areas to complete the short application to see how much they could qualify to receive.

“At this point, we are encouraging everyone in the eligible areas to apply,” said Misty Fisher, EWEB’s Customer Programs Coordinator, who is helping with applications. “Once you apply, we can match your request to the funds we have available. If we can’t match you with these grants, we can recommend other sources of funding and still help you along.”

Improperly maintained septic systems threaten the McKenzie River – the sole source of drinking water for nearly 200,000 people in the Eugene area. Septic systems that leak can contaminate the watershed with unsafe bacteria, potentially trigger harmful algal blooms, and harm fish and wildlife.

EWEB has worked with McKenzie Valley residents for over a decade to incentivize responsible septic maintenance. For upriver homeowners who have entered into loan agreements with EWEB’s 0% Septic Infrastructure Loan Program, EWEB may deploy these grant funds to qualifying homeowners to pay off remaining loan balances where applicable.

EWEB is currently accepting applications and has already matched dozens of people to funds.

To learn more about the Septic System Repair and Replacement Grants, interested landowners can go to eweb.org/septic, or call or email Misty Fisher at 541-685-7318, [email protected].

 

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