According to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), approximately 31 percent of all household sewage treatment systems throughout the State of Ohio are experiencing some degree of failure. The poor quality of discharge from septic systems and age of the systems were the most common reasons for failure. This ODH report has led to federal funding opportunities for the State of Ohio and Meigs County.
The Meigs County Health Department has secured financial assistance in the form of a principal forgiveness loan from the Ohio EPA and the Ohio Water Development Authority to assist low to moderate income homeowners with the repair or replacement of their failing household sewage treatment systems (HSTS). The health department has already assisted or in the process of assisting seven Meigs County families with system replacements for a total cost of $59,000. The original amount of the loan awarded to the health department was $180,000 and was required to be dispensed by November 2017.
The Ohio EPA has recently approved the Meigs County Health Department for additional funding and an extension of the program through November of 2018.
As mentioned before the most common cited factors contributing to failure of a system were septic discharges exceeding water quality standards and old age of the systems (30+years). ODH also reported that 26 percent of septic systems in Southeast Ohio with a discharge to surface water were failing. This percentage represents at least 6,000 septic systems contributing too poor water quality reported in watersheds, streams and lakes throughout Ohio. These types of system failures can be easily reversed by replacing aerator motors/pumps or any other mechanical devices of the system. The costs of these repairs can range from $1000 to $2000 so it is encouraged for homeowners who have discharging septic systems to utilize this program. The application process would include an assessment of the system by a health department sanitarian.
Applicants will be selected based on meeting all the eligibility requirements and on a first-come-first-serve basis. Rental property does not qualify for the program. Homeowners may qualify for one of three tiers of funding depending upon the size of their households and their income. Homeowners may qualify 100% assistance or they may have to share in the cost. Some applicants may have to provide 15% or 50% of the cost. Any cost share must be paid to the contractor before the project begins. To apply applicants must turn in a completed application with all required documentation to the Meigs County Health Department at 112 East Memorial Drive, Suite A in Pomeroy. Documentation includes proof of income for all persons residing in the household such as current bank statements, pay stubs, tax documents, social security award letters, retirement benefits and/or any other applicable documentation. Income will be verified. Homeowners must also provide documentation of property ownership of where the sewage system will be improved and is current on any property taxes. Any questions regarding the program may be directed to Steve Swatzel, RS, and Director of Environmental Health at 740-992-6626 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Steve Swatzel, RS, Director of Environmental Health at the Meigs County Health Department