Orange County Insight February 2023

By: Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation District

Residents of Orange County that live in either the Upper York River watershed or Blue Run watershed continue to be eligible for reimbursement of 50 to 80 percent of the expense of pumping and inspecting, repairing or replacing residential septic systems. The Upper York watershed is nearly all of

Orange County which is both south of Route 20 and east of US Route 15, except for very small areas along the County border with Spotsylvania and Louisa Counties. The Blue Run watershed is from the Albemarle County border just south of Barboursville and runs to the Rapidan River. All properties draining here are eligible. The Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation District grants program continues its funding to help reduce bacteria pollution in local streams. The series of grants is focused on reducing any existing or potential impacts on local ground and surface water quality. E. coli bacteria in some local streams has long been identified as being higher than expected by state water quality standards, although other

pollutants can also be involved, particularly nutrients. An additional benefit to the property owner is the assurance that their system is up to standards and functioning properly. It is a win - win for both water quality and property value. The program is entirely voluntary. All residential properties in the watershed are eligible for 50% cost share regardless of income. Program participants are eligible for one of several different payments depending on the actual needs of their system. Reimbursement payments are typically 50 percent although can go as high as 80 percent for low - income status individuals. Maximum payments to property owners at the 50% cost share are: $200 for a pump out, $2,000 maximum towards a pump out with inspection, $2,500 maximum towards a repair, $4,000 maximum towards a conventional system or $6,000 if a pump is required to move the liquids to the drain field; and $12,000 maximum toward an alternative engineered system. Pump outs and inspections are encouraged for everyone; such preventative maintenance extends the life of a system and prevents higher costs later on if systems fail. If further repairs are indicated by the inspection, the owner is still eligible for the additional repair payments. Applications are required and need to be approved prior to the work being done or funding can be declined. Free assistance with initial assessments of individual system needs is available from the District. Reimbursement payments are made promptly once the work has been completed. The program is entirely voluntary and assistance from the District is free of charge. Further information on the program is available from the District at (540) 825 - 8591 or (540) 948 - 7531. Funding for these projects has been secured by the Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation District from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Commonwealth of Virginia and the US Environmental Protection Agency.

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