Funding available for failing septic systems

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Ozarks Water Watch, a not-for-profit corporation that monitors, protects and helps improve water quality in the upper White River watershed, has received a $1 million grant from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the Missouri Department of Conservation and Table Rock Lake Water Quality to assist homeowners repair or replace failing septic systems in the Missouri portion of the watershed area.

Ronna Haxby, Missouri projects manager for OWW, manages the septic remediation program.

"Failing septic systems are a source of pollution to our waters," Haxby said. "Replacing these systems is an important step in accomplishing our mission of improving water quality. So far, OWW has replaced 75 septic systems and are only about halfway through the project funds."

For the first two years of the program, OWW could only provide a maximum of $10,000 to assist homeowners in replacing failing systems. In areas where there is not enough space or the soil is not adequate to treat effluent, newer systems, ranging upward of $20,000 or more are needed to replace the failing systems.

"That's a big chunk of money for the homeowner to pay as their share," Haxby said. "Some people just couldn't afford it."

The DNR has increased the maximum amount per project from $10,000 to $25,000, with half of the funds available as a grant and the remainder as a zero-interest loan payable to OWW in monthly installments.

The project's share pays 60 percent of the cost of the system, and low-income applicants can receive as much as 98 percent of the total funding.

The loan funds repaid to OWW will become a revolving loan fund to help replace failing systems in the future.

The program will end on July 31, 2015, or whenever funding runs out, whichever occurs first.

Only homeowners residing in the upper White River watershed are eligible for assistance.

For more information, call Haxby at 417-739-5001 or visit www.ozarkswaterwatch.org.

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