Oregon DEQ Launches Septic System Repair and Replacement Financial Assistance Program for Wildfire Victims

PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) – The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has launched the Onsite Septic Tank Financial Assistance Program to help with Oregon’s wildfire recovery efforts in 2020 and to address other statewide priorities. DEQ will provide up to $15 million in US Federal Rescue Plan Act funds to repair, replace or upgrade septic systems.

With some of this funding, Craft3, a community lender, launched a new program on July 1 that provides grants and loans to victims of these historic fires. DEQ will provide additional grants to support financial assistance programs run by local and other eligible organizations, with a priority on wildfire recovery.

ARPA funds are intended to provide economic assistance to households and communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly for low-income communities and households that have experienced the greatest hardship. During the 2021 session, the Oregon Legislature allocated the $15 million in ARPA funds to the DEQ.

“This one-time funding is a real game-changer to help rural homeowners with the cost of repairing or replacing septic systems,” said Deb Mailander, on-site program manager for DEQ. “The long-term environmental, public health and economic benefits of installing new septic systems and new technologies are significant.”

DEQ awarded $2.1 million to Craft3 to help homeowners affected by the 2020 wildfires. As of July 1, fire-affected homeowners are encouraged to apply for grants and loans to repair or replace their system septic tank on site. Eligible borrowers will be offered grant resources on a sliding scale based on annual household income. For more information, visit the Craft3 webpage.

On June 15, DEQ issued a competitive call for grant proposals to help further replace and repair septic systems damaged by the 2020 wildfires. Public agencies, tribes, and community development financial institutions are eligible to apply. apply for this funding to support their on-site septic financial assistance programs. These financial assistance programs will provide grants or loans for ongoing projects and, in some cases, may allow reimbursement of previous permit, consulting and construction fees. DEQ expects to announce the new financial aid opportunities in September.

If funds are available, DEQ will launch a second call for proposals in the fall. This round will include all unmet fire recovery needs and other statewide priorities.

For more information on the Onsite Septic Tank Financial Assistance Program, visit ordeq.org/onsiteARPAfunds.

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