American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) Well and Septic Funding
The Virginia Department of Health will use $11.5 million allocated in the Governor’s Budget Bill approved on August 10, 2021 to help low-income homeowners repair or replace deteriorating well and septic systems. The allocation is part of the Commonwealth’s funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The Office of Environmental Health Services will oversee disbursement of the ARPA funds, which will be used to assist homeowners with incomes at or below 200% of federal poverty guidelines to:
- Replace failing septic systems.
- Replace straight pipes.
- Replace pit privies.
- Replace private wells that have gone dry.
- Replace contaminated private wells.
- And more.
VDH is in the process of finalizing a plan for dispersing these funds. We anticipate a portion of these funds being made available to partner organizations for disbursement in the area those organizations cover. If you are interested in partnering with VDH on this effort, please contact Lance Gregory at Lance.Gregory@vdh.virginia.gov for more information. If you are in need of assistance with a septic or well replacement, we encourage you to reach out to your local health department. You can find contact information for the health department serving your area at https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/local-health-districts/. This page will be updated as the plan for disbursement is finalized and more information, such as application processes, become available.
Funding Success Stories:
The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is excited to announce that we have received $300,000 from the Virginia Environmental Endowment (VEE), with an additional $200,000 from the Smithfield Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Smithfield Foods, Inc., for a total of $500,000. These funds will be used to repair failing septic systems and remediate illicit sewage discharges (straight pipes) from homes located in the James River watershed in James City, Isle of Wight and Surry Counties. For more information, please go to https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/environmental-health/veesepticgrant/.
VDH has worked with multiple state agencies and localities to help secure funding for the onsite sewage and water program. In 2012, the Office of Environmental Health Services secured a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund for $750,000 to help repair or replace failing onsite sewage systems. This grant provided funding assistance to a total of 48 homeowners in the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula regions and helped to reduce bacteria and nitrogen entering sensitive waters of the Chesapeake Bay.
More recently in 2016, four local health districts will be partnering with localities, planning district commissions, and soil and water conservation districts to help improve onsite sewage treatment in the state, thanks to recent funding awarded through the Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) Nonpoint Source Water Quality Improvement Fund (WQIF) for more than $2.2 million towards onsite sewage treatment in Virginia. The projects will provide assistance to over 1,000 households and educational materials to thousands more.
Follow the links below to find more information and funding resources for onsite sewage systems and private water wells.
Private Well Financial Assistance:
- RCAP Rural Community Assistance Partnership
- RCAP operates as a national service delivery network of six regional partners and a national office in Washington, D.C. Every year, more than 200 RCAP specialists provide technical assistance, training, and financial resources to more than 2,000 small rural communities in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
- SERCAP Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project, Inc.
- SERCAP helps small rural towns and communities needing aid in upgrading their water and wastewater systems. We also provide training and technical assistance to rural residents for operation and maintenance of those systems, for capacity building and for economic development in their communities.
- Funding is made available to low-income individuals and communities in the form of grants and loans in order to rehabilitate housing, build water and wastewater infrastructure, assist in small business development, and to finance development projects of small rural governments.
- SERCAP recently released a new and improved application in a fillable pdf format for a simplified application process. You can find it here: SERCAP Universal Application
Onsite Sewage System Financial Assistance:
- USDA Rural Development Single Family Housing Repair Loans and Grants
- This program provides grants and low interest loans to very-low income homeowners to repair, improve, or modernize their homes to remove health and safety hazards. Loans and grants can be combined for up to $27,500 in assistance.
- See description and link above.
- Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, Indoor Plumbing Rehabilitation
- The Indoor Plumbing Rehabilitation (IPR) program provides zero percent interest, subsidized loans in eligible localities for the installation of indoor plumbing to owners of substandard housing where indoor plumbing does not exist or where the existing waste water disposal systems have failed. Loan repayments are determined by the homeowner’s ability to make payments.
- Virginia Department of Health Indemnification Fund
- VDH’s Indemnification Fund provides homeowners with funding assistance for repairing or replacing an onsite sewage system or components that failed within 3 years of installation due to the negligence of VDH. Funding is available up to $30,000 and is reimbursed to the homeowner following repair or replacement of the onsite sewage system or components.
Local assistance to repair, replace, or pump out a septic system is available in several areas of the state. If you reside in one of the counties shown in color below, click on your county to learn more about these residential septic cost share programs.
Other Useful Information Sources
The Virginia Environmental Health Association (VEHA) is a non-profit organization of environmental health professionals within the Commonwealth of Virginia. Founded in 1966 as the Virginia Sanitarians Association, the name was later changed to Virginia Environmental Health Association to more appropriately encompass the expanding field. VEHA is the oldest and original founding environmental association in Virginia. As a registered non-profit IRS tax-exempt 501(c)3 public charity (EIN 52-1206886), VEHA supports and promotes environmental health across the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The Virginia Onsite Wastewater Recycling Organization (VOWRA) is a professional association representing onsite system installers, designers, and soil evaluators. VOWRA’s mission is to support, strengthen, advance and unify the onsite wastewater industry in the Commonwealth of Virginia through education, training, and representation.
The Virginia Water Well Association serves with the following objectives: to assist, promote, encourage, and support the interests and welfare of the ground water industries in all phases generally, and in particular within the Commonwealth of Virginia; to foster, aid and promote scientific education, standards, research, and techniques in order to improve methods of well construction and development, and to advance the science of groundwater hydrology; to promote harmony and cooperation between well contractors, water treatment installers, onsite waste water systems installers and geothermal installers as well as governmental and scientific agencies relevant to the proper development and protection of groundwater supplies; to encourage cooperation of all interested groups relative to the improvement of drilling, pumping equipment, water treatment, waste water and geothermal technologies; to encourage, serve assist and promote close cooperation with the National Ground Water Association, Inc.; to collect, analyze and disseminate to the public facts about the role of the water well industry and the onsite water industries in general in the economy of the Commonwealth of Virginia and of the nation; and, to advance generally the mutual interests of all those engaged in the onsite groundwater industries, in their own and in the public interest.
If you have information on a potential funding source not listed here, or corrections on information provided on this page, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.