Governor Brown has designated this SepticSmart Week. This month also marks the first anniversary of a program that’s helped 30 Oregon families repair or replace failing septic systems. KLCC’s Brian Bull reports.
Nearly $600,000 in Clean Water Loans have been given to homeowners and small businesses in the last year. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality says nearly a third of state residents rely on septic systems for sewage treatment, and out of those, about a tenth are at risk of failure.
Mike Kucinski is the Department’s regional Environmental Solutions Manager.
“A failing system can be harmful to human health and the environment," says Kucinski. "Especially if it gets into water quality where it can also cause problems with drinking water, contamination, and beneficial uses, and recreation, and that sort of thing.
"So yes, fixing these systems is a direct benefit for human health and the environment.”
Kucinski says the legislature has recently approved $1.3 million towards Clean Water loans, to keep the program funded. He says non-profit partner Craft3 offers deferred payment for lower-income residents, so homeowners don’t need to make payments until they sell the property.
Since 2016, loans have gone to 14 Oregon counties.