June 22, 2024

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) has partnered with Michigan Saves, the nation’s first nonprofit green bank, to offer financing for the replacement of failing or near-failing septic systems statewide, through the Septic Replacement Loan Program (SRLP). The program provides low-interest financing options for loans up to $50,000 to Michigan homeowners looking to replace their septic systems.

A two-compartment concrete septic tank.

A two-compartment concrete septic tank. Courtesy of EPA. 

 

“A working septic system is an essential part of a home,” said Anne Mitchell, Septic Replacement Loan Program manager at EGLE. “Fifty six percent of Americans struggle to cover a $1,000 emergency, so we’re thrilled to offer this financial benefit to anyone facing the daunting task of replacing a failing septic system,” she said.

In Michigan, more than 1.3 million septic systems treat millions of gallons of sewage each day, and a recent report by Public Sector Consultants estimates that between 130,000 and 325,000 of these systems are failing to adequately process wastewater, threatening not only public health but also drinking water sources and nearby rivers and streams. Unaddressed failing systems pose a significant health risk, especially to children who may come into contact with dangerous bacteria and viruses. To address this issue, the SRLP offers affordable loan options to homeowners to help them overcome the unexpected financial burden of septic system replacement.

The Michigan legislature has allocated $35 million to EGLE’s Onsite Wastewater Management Unit for the development and implementation of the statewide program. EGLE has partnered with Michigan Saves to develop and manage it. This collaboration ensures that the program adheres to EGLE’s program minimum standards, assuring that supported septic systems are evaluated, designed and installed to be protective of both public and environmental health.

“Michigan Saves is honored to be selected to manage the Septic Replacement Loan Program in collaboration with our partners at EGLE,” said Chanell Scott Contreras, president and CEO of Michigan Saves. “With the launch of income-qualified loans, we’re ensuring the process of replacing failing septic systems becomes more equitable, providing financial support where it’s needed most and leveling the playing field for all Michigan families.”

The SRLP is divided into two tiers: income-based financing (Tier One) and market-based loans (Tier Two). Loans will range up to $30,000 per project for Tier One, and up to $50,000 per project for Tier Two, with rates, terms and loan amounts varying. To be eligible for the program, septic systems must be permitted by the local health department in accordance with EGLE’s program minimum standards and be installed by a Michigan Saves authorized septic installation contractor.

Through the initiative, EGLE and Michigan Saves aim to protect Michigan’s water resources and safeguard the well-being of its residents. They are committed to ensuring that all Michigan homeowners have access to safe and reliable septic systems.

For more information about the SRLP, to find a Michigan Saves authorized contractor and to begin the financing process for septic system replacement, please visit MichiganSaves.org/Septic/.

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