21-county Regional Loan Program is operated by nonprofit lender Craft3
Thanks to new funding made available from the state of Washington, families in Benton, Ferry, Franklin, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Skagit and Stevens Counties can now access affordable Clean Water Loans to repair or replace failing septic systems. Septic system repairs can run into the tens of thousands of dollars, which can be a burden on any household budget. Lending officially began on September 1, 2019 and the first loan has already been approved in Benton County.
“More funding to septic repairs in more counties across the state is great news for homeowners, communities and the environment,” said Heather Bartlett, Water Quality Program Manager at Washington State Department of Ecology. “Hundreds of homeowners have already taken advantage of this great program, it is a win-win for homeowners and the environment.”
Clean Water Loans are offered as part of a multi-county Regional Loan Program that is funded, in part, by the Washington State Department of Ecology, and operated by nonprofit lender Craft3. Other members in the program are Clallam, Clark, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Island, Jefferson, King, Kitsap, Mason, Pacific, Pierce, Snohomish, Thurston and Whatcom. Loans are also available in Wahkiakum County.
Since the program’s launch in 2016, nearly 700 septic systems, worth $16.7 million, have been repaired or replaced. Those systems treat 92 million gallons of wastewater annually – the equivalent of 139 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Approximately 37 percent of the borrowers were low-income.
“Craft3 is pleased to expand our Clean Water Loan to Benton, Ferry, Franklin, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Skagit and Stevens Counties,” said Adam Zimmerman, President and CEO of Craft3. “This program increases rural housing stability by ensuring that families with limited financial means can stay in their homes when faced with an unexpected septic failure.”
In April 2019, the Washington state legislature passed a Capital Budget that funded Ecology’s Water Quality Combined Funding Program, which provides grants and loans to water quality projects around the state. Applications for funding are competitively ranked, then funded with appropriated dollars. This expansion of the Regional Loan Program received funding through that process.
Roughly a third of Washington households are on septic systems. Failing septic systems can result in sewage backing up in the home or entering local waterways – posing a public health threat. Well-functioning and properly maintained septic systems can effectively treat household wastewater for many years.
With separate funding from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Craft3 also offers Clean Water Loans throughout the state of Oregon.
Homeowners can learn more about the program or apply at www.Craft3.org/CleanWaterWash