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County looks at sanitary loan options

Proposed program would provide loans to replace failing sanitary systems

A proposed loan program to help income-eligible homeowners replace failing private sanitary systems inched closer to reality last week.
On December 13, members of the county’s finance and zoning committees met to discuss the proposed program and see where the seed money needed to get it going could come from. 
The idea was first proposed by supervisor Lester Lewis, chairman of the county zoning committee, during the October county board session. The zoning department has the job of enforcing state rules regarding maintenance of residential holding tanks and septic systems. According to Lewis, about 30 percent of the systems that are first being inspected are failing in some way. 
Failing sanitary systems can result in groundwater contamination, leading to health concerns as well as having a negative impact on area lakes and streams. The county has enforcement tools, including issuing citations and going through the court system to force compliance for people who refuse to upgrade their systems. However, there are concerns about the number of county residents who have low or fixed incomes and are unable to afford a new system. According to Lewis, the systems can run from $5,000 to $7,000 for holding tanks to $20,000 or more for a mound system.

See this week's issue of The Star News for more the full story.

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