Governor Cuomo Announces $15 Million in Grants for Homeowners to Replace Aging Septic Systems
Second Round of $75 Million Septic System Replacement Program to Protect Priority Waterbodies
Funding Comes from $2.5 Billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act and Complements Water Protection Initiatives Statewide
New York (STL.News) Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced $15 million in funding is available through the State Septic System Replacement Program to support homeowners. The grants are the second round from a total of $75 million provided to improve water quality and protect public health through the targeted replacement of aging and sub-standard septic systems and removal of cesspools in communities statewide. The program is a collaboration between the Department of Environmental Conservation, Department of Health, Environmental Facilities Corporation, and participating counties to administer funding to qualifying homeowners.
“As we build back better, it is more important than ever that we continue to invest in our water infrastructure and help ensure clean water for New York residents,” Governor Cuomo said. “Cesspools and failing septic systems cannot be overlooked as a source of water pollution, and these funds are necessary to help communities improve water quality in some of our most vulnerable watersheds.”
Environmental Facilities Corporation President and CEO Joseph Rabito said, “Good water quality is key to maintaining healthy communities. Working with our partners in counties across the state and our colleagues at DEC and DOH on the Septic System Replacement Program, is just one of the ways the Environmental Facilities Corporation helps local governments with critical water quality infrastructure projects. By providing access to grants that will help homeowners reduce their costs to modernize aging septic systems and reduce cesspools, the State will continue to work towards the environmental goals championed by Governor Cuomo.”
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner and EFC Board Chairman Basil Seggos said, “The State Septic System Replacement Program is a successful tool that is incentivizing New Yorkers living in sensitive watersheds to upgrade failing septic systems and replace cesspools with compliant treatment systems. The new infusion of funds announced today will ramp up a partnership program with participating counties, facilitating the improvement of water quality in hundreds of communities across the state.”
New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York has made great strides in implementing strategies and providing fiscal support to improve water quality and protect and preserve source water statewide. Funding to replace aging septic systems and upgrade cesspools to implement treatment is an integral part of building on that progress and in turn, protecting public health for decades to come.”
In 2017, Governor Cuomo launched a comprehensive, multi-year clean water infrastructure initiative to improve water quality that included a $75 million program to assist homeowners with the cost to replace aging septic systems in targeted communities across New York. This rebate program was created to give homeowners and small businesses an incentive to replace and upgrade aging septic systems and eliminate cesspools that can harm water quality and threaten public health by releasing pathogens or nutrient pollution such as nitrogen and phosphorus. The grant program is funded through the $2.5 billion made available in the Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017 and is part of the Governor’s commitment to dedicate $5 billion to clean water projects to protect the drinking water for New York residents. The first round of funding was announced in February 2018.
The Septic Replacement Program improves water quality by encouraging and incentivizing homeowners’ replacement of cesspools and failing or inadequate septic systems around a waterbody known to be impaired by septic system discharges. DEC and DOH identified priority geographic areas in which property owners are eligible to participate based on the presence of a sole-source aquifer used for drinking water, known water quality impairment linked to failing septic systems, and/or the ability for septic system upgrades to mitigate water quality impairments. EFC will be providing detailed information about how to access the funding to counties with identified priority geographic areas. DEC and DOH will re-evaluate priority waterbodies in future rounds of funding.
New York State will provide funds to counties to reimburse eligible property owners for a portion of the cost of replacing cesspools and septic systems and installing more environmentally effective systems. Eligible property owners can be reimbursed 50 percent of eligible costs up to $10,000. Counties may also set graduated incentive reimbursement rates for septic system projects to maximize program participation and pollution reduction goals.
A list of eligible counties and priority geographic areas within those counties is available on EFC’s website here.