On-Site Sewage Financial Assistance

Since the early 1990s, the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) has loaned money from the Water Pollution Control State Revolving Fund (SRF) to local governments to set up low-interest loan programs to repair or replace failing on-site sewage systems (OSS). Over the years, these loan programs, run by counties and cities, have made loans to land owners unable to qualify for conventional bank loans and to owners of marine waterfront property where failures might directly affect Puget Sound.

OSS failures threaten Washington’s drinking water supply, which primarily comes from ground water. They also hurt Washington’s multi-million dollar per year shellfish industry, which anchors the economies of many rural Washington communities.

It can be expensive to repair or replace an on-site sewage system. In western Washington, a new conventional system can cost $15,000 or more; the cost for an alternative system can be a lot more. Since many of the soils in this part of the state require the use of alternative systems, property owners can find themselves facing a bill they may not be able to afford to pay.

Funding Program Overview

Currently active Loan Programs

Regional On-Site Sewage System Loan Program

In 2014, based on a recommendation from Washington State Department of Health, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department applied for and received Ecology funding for a regional loan program to support the origination and servicing of loans to property owners for the repair and replacement of failing OSS throughout the marine (Puget Sound and coastal) counties. In the application, the applicants requested that Ecology administer any funds awarded.

Ten counties and/or their health jurisdictions (Clallam, Grays Harbor, King, Kitsap, Mason, Pacific, Pierce, Snohomish, Thurston, and Whatcom) initially signed on to the partnership, with the opportunity for the other counties in the region (Island, Jefferson, San Juan, and Skagit) to join later.

In July 2016, after a competitive bidding process, Ecology contracted with a local lender Craft3, a non-profit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), to originate and service loans for the Regional On-Site Sewage System Program. The program will provide efficiently delivered and consistent lending options to repair/replace failing OSS across a multi-county region. A single loan fund administered by a single third-party lender is a more cost-effective use of limited public funds to:

Craft3 offers affordable Clean Water Loans to help property owners repair or replace their failing septic systems and, if approved by the county, to connect to municipal sewer systems.

Loan features include:

Learn more and apply at www.Craft3.org/CleanWater. Or contact Craft3 at CleanWater@Craft3.org or 888-231-2170.

Craft3 is an equal opportunity lender, provider, and employer. Not all applicants will qualify. Craft3 NMLS ID#390159

Other Information

Related Funding Program State Rules:

Contacts for questions regarding the On-Site Sewage Financial Assistance Program

On-Site Sewage Financial Assistance Coordinator Rebecca Brown 360-407-6703 rebecca.brown@ecy.wa.gov
Financial Programs - General David Dunn 360-407-6503 david.dunn@ecy.wa.gov
Other Information Elaine Markham 360-407-6502 elaine.markham@ecy.wa.gov