Tuesday, lawmakers accepted public testimony on a bill to continue state support to very low-income homeowners as they experience hardships related to septic system failure in the House committee on water.

Each year, over 10 percent of septic systems fail, and in Oregon there are over 450,000 septic systems in use. With costs for repair as much as $20,000, the reach for low-income families can be too far. In 2016, the Legislature took action, and created a low-interest loan program to assist families experiencing hardship. Currently, over 25 percent of families served by the program fall below 80 percent of the median income in their county.

From the program’s inception to 2019, the state offered $1.7 million in support, with close to $3 million invested in the program overall. 

Association of Oregon Counties (AOC) Legislative Affairs Manager, Susan Morgan commented on the program’s impact, “this program has invested in over 150 septic systems, spanning 27 counties in Oregon. It helps keep families in homes, promotes a clean water supply, provides business to local contractors, and reduces threats to public health.”

The bill is scheduled for a work session on February 6, and is expected to move to the joint committee on ways and means, where funding bills will await their fate.

To view Susan Morgan’s testimony, click here.

To view information on the program and county investments, click here.

Contributed by: Megan Chuinard | Public Affairs Associate