Healing Lake Erie: Assistance available to replace/repair septic systems

Untreated sewage and failed septic systems are major contributors to the pollution and toxic algae bloom in Lake Erie that threaten the health of our citizens, fish and wildlife, and negatively impacts our economy. 

Residents in the five-county area of Erie, Wyandot, Sandusky, Ottawa and Seneca counties now can access funds to assist with replacing or repairing their home sewage systems. These funds will be available until May 2014 or until funds expire, whichever comes first.

Rental properties are not eligible for this assistance, only owner-occupied homes, and the property owner must pay a $1,000 administration fee before work can begin. In addition, the property owner must have incomes of no more than 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. For example, a household of four should not have an annual income of more than $47,000.

For those who may be 100 percent of the poverty guidelines (a household of four – no more $23,500), the assistance can be 100 percent while those between 100-200 percent, the assistance will be 85 percent of the repair/replacement costs.

Those who are accepted to receive assistance should not have a contract with a local sewage installation contractor/designer. All contractors registered with the county’s health department will be contacted to bid on each system.

The funds will not cover installation of a new home’s sewer system, connecting a failing system to the public system, or abandonment of drinking water wells, even if it is required by the local health department. 

Income documentation of all household members over 18 years of age must be submitted at the time of application. One of the following will be accepted: proof of employment such as four weeks of pay stubs; verification of unemployment, social security, child support and/or any other fixed income sources; verification of self-employment income; or copies of bank statements that reflect interest earned in the last year.

Since funds are limited, those interested are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

For applications or more information, call Cindy Brookes at 419-334-5016, or visit

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