Loans available for affordable septic repairs in Thurston County

By: Thurston County - Sep 20, 2016
Source: Thurston County Public Health & Social Services Department

Program that helps homeowners and the environment expands

Septic system repair or replacement can be a financial burden for homeowners. The Thurston County Public Health & Social Services Department is now offering affordable Clean Water Loans to Thurston County residents and others across the Puget Sound region.

"Replacing a failing septic system is a difficult financial burden for homeowners," said Art Starry, Thurston County Environmental Health Division Director. "For many years Thurston County ran a successful low interest septic system repair loan and grant program. We're excited to join this regional program because it will make more flexible financial packages available to applicants. This program helps make septic system repairs and replacement possible, while easing the cost to homeowners and protecting our environment."

The Clean Water Loans will allow homeowners to pay for:

  • Septic system design
  • Relevant permits
  • Installation of the new septic system
  • Ongoing maintenance
  • Essential safety measures, such as those to prevent children from falling into septic tanks
The Clean Water Loan Program partnership now includes Thurston County and nine other counties (Clallam, Grays Harbor, King, Kitsap, Mason, Pacific, Pierce, Snohomish, and Whatcom). Similar loans are also available for property owners in Wahkiakum and Jefferson Counties outside of the partnership. Thurston County Public Health & Social Services partnered with other entities around Western Washington to receive a more than $9 million award from the State Department of Ecology (in partnership with the State Department of Health) for the program. Craft3, a non-profit, non-bank community development financial institution, is the lending partner in the program.

"This new loan program exemplifies partnerships at their best. It responsibly invests in clean water infrastructure, supports Puget Sound recovery, builds family resilience in rural areas, and helps ensure access to clean water that is essential to our communities," said Polly Zehm, Deputy Director of Washington State Department of Ecology. "I'm thrilled to see counties, the state, and Craft3 come together to make a measurable impact on our region's water quality."

The partnership expands a more-limited Craft3 septic loan program that, since 2003, has seen
  • Widespread use - 634 septic systems repaired or replaced, worth $13.2 million
  • Wastewater treatment - those systems treat 79.5 million gallons of wastewater annually
  • Accessibility - over 50 percent of loans have gone to low-income households or those with credit challenges
"Since 2003, Craft3 has lent money to homeowners in crisis who needed help to replace their failing septic system," said Adam Zimmerman, President & CEO of Craft3. "Craft3 has a triple-bottom-line mission to strengthen the region's economy, environment, and families - so expanding our Clean Water Loan to homeowners across Western Washington is a perfect fit for us."