Funding available for the replacement of septic systems near specific waterbodies in Jefferson County

WATERTOWN, NY —  New York State’s Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC) has opened Round 2 of the State Septic Replacement Fund Program, which provides funds to repair or replace failing or substandard septic systems located near targeted waterbodies.

The purpose of this fund is to replace existing cesspools and septic systems that are having significant and quantifiable environmental and/or public health impacts to groundwater used for drinking water, or a threatened or impaired waterbody.
Jefferson County is participating in the State’s program. Priority Waterbodies identified for Round 1 included Moon Lake, Red Lake and the Indian River while Round 2 continues to include Moon Lake, it also adds Guffin Bay (Lake Ontario) and the St. Lawrence River. Property owners with substandard septic systems located within 250 feet of these waterbodies are encouraged to apply to help improve water quality. In addition to year round residences, seasonal homes and rental properties are eligible for the Program.

The State’s Program allows the individual county to tailor its program to meet its specific goals so long as the State’s maximum of 50% reimbursement of eligible costs and cap of $10,000 per system are not exceeded. Jefferson County is limiting its maximum award to a 50% reimbursement up to a maximum of $5,000 per system due to limited funds and a large number of potentially eligible homeowners included within Round 2’s waterbodies.

The Planning Department will accept completed applications through September 30, 2021. County staff will review and rank applications to determine the ones that will fulfill the Program’s intent. Selection priority may be determined by the condition of the existing septic system, the potential impact to the impaired waterbody, the design of the proposed system and the date of initial contact with County Planning Department.

Applications that are not selected to receive a grant during this round will remain on a waiting list and be considered for future selection if additional funding becomes available. The grant recipients will have one year to complete the work and seek reimbursement. Any work completed prior to a signed award agreement is not eligible for reimbursement.

An application and additional information can be found on the Planning Department’s webpage at https://co.jefferson.ny.us/departments/Planning/septic-system-replacement-program, or by calling Sara Freda at (315) 785-3144.