Department of Ecology News Release - Sept. 21, 2021
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A failing septic system is usually a costly and urgent situation for homeowners. Fortunately, help is now available in every Washington county. As of Sept. 1, the Regional On-Site Sewage System Loan Program has expanded state-wide, adding 17 counties to this successful program.
Approximately a third of Washington homes use septic systems for wastewater treatment. Well-functioning and properly maintained septic systems can effectively treat household wastewater for many years. Failing septic systems can result in sewage backing up in the home or entering local waterways and groundwater supplies– posing a public health threat.
The loan program is a partnership between the Department of Ecology, the Department of Health, local county and health departments, and Craft3, a nonprofit community lender. It provides Washingtonians access to affordable financing for the repair and replacement of septic systems. Interested homeowners can apply for a Clean Water Loan by visiting the Craft3 website. Commercial properties and non-owner occupied properties may also qualify.
‘Statewide access to this program is a win for homeowners, public health, and clean water. When a failing septic system is fixed, the benefits go beyond the home. This program supports healthy shellfish and fisheries, and helps ensure Washingtonians have access to swimming beaches and recreation.’
Vince McGowan, water quality program manager for Ecology.
It is not uncommon for a new septic system to cost $20,000 or more, making it a substantial investment that many homeowners cannot afford on their own, especially when the problems are unexpected.
“The Washington State Legislature, Departments of Ecology and Health and many counties have put in significant and consistent work over past two decades to create this program. Now with statewide access, our Clean Water Loan is poised to support thousands of new households and contribute to improving shared water resources across the Evergreen State,”
Adam Zimmerman, President and CEO of Craft3.
Expanding the program statewide was made possible with funding support from the state legislature. The newest counties to join the program are:
- San Juan
- Walla Walla
Established in 2016, the Regional On-Site Sewage System Loan Program has helped nearly 1,200 homeowners repair or replace their septic systems, a value of $26.7 million. Combined, these systems treat 154 million gallons of wastewater annually. Previously, Craft3 offered Clean Water Loans on a more-limited basis in partnership with specific counties.