Installation of sewage systems funded by the Recovery Act in Columbiana and Trumbull Counties, Ohio. Source: Ohio EPA
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Ohio Department of Health (ODH) have completed a pilot program using $3.4 million in Recovery Act funds to repair or replace 463 failing home sewage systems. The program was so successful that state officials are considering making it an ongoing program supported by state funds.
These individual systems typically consisted of a septic tank, a sewage treatment unit and leach lines for soil absorption. State officials say 25 percent of such systems were failing or had failed, but adequate funding to address them had not been available. And in the current economic conditions, many homeowners couldn’t afford the average $9,800 to make the necessary repairs. This program provided financial assistance to homeowners whose systems had failed and were causing public health concerns and contamination of the environment.
The Recovery Act funding covered 75 percent or approximately $7,350 of the cost to repair and replace each home sewage system, with individual homeowners covering the remainder, about $2,450. In some communities, a mix of other state and federal funds were used to help homeowners offset the matching costs.
Most counties that chose to participate in the program had many applicants, state officials said. Two counties in northeastern Ohio, Trumbull and Columbiana, received funding to replace 26 and 31 systems respectively.
More than 140 contractors across the state carried out the repair and replacement work. They completed the work in August 2010.
The $3.4 million spent on this program is part of a $220 million Recovery award for water pollution control in Ohio. The Ohio EPA is using the balance of the award to improve or protect the state’s rivers, streams, lakes and other water resources, impacting 5.6 million Ohioans in 187 communities.
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