Communities across the Wayne-Finger Lakes region recently received $1.1 million in funding to improve water quality through the replacement of aging septic systems.
“The Septic Tank Rebate program will give local communities an important tool they need to protect water quality and keep our lakes clean,” said State Sen. Pam Helming, R-54th District. “Our pristine lakes provide drinking water for hundreds of thousands of people. They attract many visitors to our local communities, and are a driver of economic development and job creation in our region. Failing septic tanks not only threaten our drinking water, but also contribute to harmful algal blooms and hurt recreational opportunities in the Finger Lakes.”
Monroe County’s Irondequoit Bay, Mill Creek, Shipbuilder Creek and various tributaries received $150,000 in funding. Canadice, Canandaigua, Hemlock, Honeoye and Seneca lakes in Ontario County received $225,000. Lake Ontario and Blind Sodus Bay in Wayne County received $150,000.
“This program addresses critical needs on five lakes in Ontario County,” said Mary Krause, administrator, Ontario County. “It will provide tremendous benefit to individual homeowners by protecting water quality while helping to preserve these lakes for all of us to enjoy.”
Septic systems that are failing or likely to fail near priority bodies of water are eligible to participate in the program. The state will provide funds to counties to reimburse eligible property owners for a portion of the cost of replacing failing septic systems and installing more environmentally effective systems. Eligible property owners can be reimbursed up to 50 percent of eligible costs up to $10,000. Seasonal or secondary homes are not eligible for this program.
“Lake Ontario is not only the main source of drinking water for all of Wayne County, but it also supports a world-class fishing environment,” said Steven LeRoy, chairman, Wayne County Board of Supervisors. “It is crucial to our local economy and the health of our residents that Lake Ontario’s waters remain clean for current populations and all generations to come. By offering our residents an affordable way to upgrade their septic systems, we are doing the responsible thing as good stewards of our environment to ensure the quality of Lake Ontario’s waters.”
Participating counties will determine project eligibility. The county determines project grant awards based on program criteria and the property’s location in relation to a body of water, impacts to groundwater used as drinking water and the condition of the property owner’s current septic system.