VDH's Septic and Well Assistance Program
You may qualify to have your private well and sewer fixed for free.
If you have a house with a well or septic system that needs to be fixed, and your income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines, we can cover the cost.
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 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 spend the ARPA funds through the Septic and Well Assistance Program (SWAP), which will be used to assist homeowners with incomes at or below 200% of federal poverty guidelines.
VDH uses the 2022 Federal Health and Human Serves Department 2022 Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG) to determine eligibility. Homeowners whose income is at or below 200% (2 times the FPG) are eligible.
|Persons In Household||200% Federal Poverty Guidelines|
|>8||Add $9,440 for each additional person|
Eligibility is based upon income verification of the family unit or economic unit that legally owns the home and associated property for which wastewater/water improvements are needed. The SWAP uses the process outline in the VDH "Eligibility and Charging Structure Guidance Document" to verify income and determine eligibility.
SWAP covers the cost of:
- Repairing or replacing failing septic systems.
- Replacing straight pipes and privies.
- Installing conventional system repairs, alternative system repairs, or sewer connection.
- Alternative system operation and maintenance.
- Replacing inadequate private wells.
- Properly abandoning unused wells.
- Installing replacement wells or public water connections.
How old is your septic systems?
Most septic systems last about 30 years before having to be repaired or replaced.
When is the last time you tested your private well for water quality?
Almost 1 in 3 private wells tested exceeds safe drinking water levels for bacteria and/or critical heavy metals, representing serious health hazards.
VDH will receive ARPA funding designated for repair/replacement of failing onsite sewage systems and private wells for low-income home owners. We want to make sure we can help as many families as possible.
Over half of the approximately 1.1 million onsite sewage systems in Virginia are reaching the end of their usable lifespan, and the majority of the over 700,000 private wells are not regularly tested for water quality. This project will significantly improve the health of many Virginians, which is the heart of our mission.
If you are an individual homeowner and are interested in applying to the SWAP program please fill out the form below and submit it to your local health department. You will need to also provide proof of income, such as a pay stub or W-2 tax form, to determine your income eligibility. We advise contacting your local health department in advance to ensure staff will be available to assist you with your application, and to ensure you have the necessary proof of income documents. Please note, submission of an application and income eligibility is not an approval to construct the well or septic repair under the grant. If you have questions about the process on how VDH selects contractors for SWAP projects, please contact us.
As part of the grant application you will need to provide a permit for the septic and/or well repairs. If you do not already have a permit, please fill out the Well and Septic Permit Application below and submit it to the local health department. Under VDH's Hardship Guidelines, we can assist homeowners at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines with conventional septic and private well designs. If you would like VDH to provide design services you will have to fill out and submit a Petition for VDH Services Form.
VDH plans to provide roughly 50% of available funding to local partners that would like to implement the SWAP grant program in their area. Funds will be offered through a series of Requests for Applications (RFA) which will provide grants to eligible entities for between $100,000 - $300,000. Applications will be accepted for organizations who can respond to an immediate need to provide funding to homeowners at or below the 200% of the federal poverty guidelines to repair failing onsite sewage (septic) systems, replace straight pipes, replace privies, replace inadequate private wells, and properly abandoning unused wells. Funding can also be used for the connection to public sewer for failing onsite septic systems or to replace straight pipes and privies as well as for the connection to public water.
Eligible Applicants: Local governments (including counties, cities, towns, and municipal corporations), soil and water conservation districts, Tribes located within the Commonwealth of Virginia, planning district commissions, regional commissions, nonprofit environmental organizations.
Funding Available for:
- Connection to public sewer for malfunctioning onsite sewage system, straight pipe or privy.
- Conventional onsite sewage system repair.
- Conventional onsite sewage system installation to address straight pipe or privy
- Alternative onsite sewage system repair or installation.
- Alternative onsite sewage system installation to address straight pipe or privy.
- Single family alternative discharge sewage treatment system to address failing onsite systems, straight pipe or privy.
- Private well installation.
- Private well abandonment.
- Connection to public water to replace inadequate private well.
- VDH-SWAP-LP-2022-01: Septic and Well Assistance Program Local Partners with Immediate Projects Request for Applications. Closes 4/27/2022 at 4:30 p.m. EST. Funds Available: $2.85 million. Project timeframe 7/1/2022 to 9/30/2025. RFA package available at eVA: https://mvendor.cgieva.com/Vendor/public/AllOpportunities
SWAP Grant Local Partners RFA – April 1, 2022 10 a.m.-12:00 p.m. EST. You can view a recording of the webinar at the link below.
If you have any questions please send those to VDH_SWAP_Grant@vdh.virginia.gov subject “SWAP RFA Question”. Or you can contact the Wastewater Infrastructure Manager, Nicole Sandberg, at (804) 291-6483 or Nicole.Sandberg@vdh.virginia.gov with any questions.
Local partner funding is being provided based on VDH Health Regions boundaries. You can find a list of localities within each Health Region, and a map of the Health Regions below.
VDH has received many questions for both the Direct Funding to homeowners as well as the RFA for Local Partners. We have compiled the questions and answers into one document and produced a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document. If you have questions that are not addressed by this document, please send them to VDH_SWAP_grant@vdh.virginia.gov.