Low-interest septic loan program expands after few applications

Staff Writer

About 2,000 Vashon homeowners are now eligible to apply for low-interest loans through King County for septic system repair or replacement.

The county recently announced that its revolving septic loan program, which was previously only available to about 250 homes in Vashon’s Marine Recovery Area (MRA), is now open to 2,100 properties, mostly in watersheds that flow into Quartermaster Harbor.

The program is expanding in part because of a lack of interest in the loans by those in the MRA, according to Darrell Rodgers, manager of community environmental health in King County’s health department.

King County announced the septic loan program would begin last year, after members of the Vashon-Maury Island Community Council advocated for it and the county secured $350,000 in funding from the Environmental Protection Agency. The program is part of an ongoing effort to get islanders to repair and maintain failing septic systems, and the loans are administered through Craft3, a nonprofit lending organization.

However, since the program began last spring, fewer than 10 islanders have applied for the loans, a smaller number than the county expected. No loans have been given yet, Rodgers said, but several applicants are in the approval process. The county hopes that expanding the number of parcels eligible for loans will generate more applications.

While most of the newly eligible properties are located in watersheds that flow into Quartermaster Harbor, a few waterfront neighborhoods on Puget Sound are also eligible, including Dolphin Point, Dilworth Point and Summerhurst.

“They still contribute pollution, chemicals, human sources of fecal waste and all those things to the water,” Rodgers said. “That’s why we wanted to be able to expand it.”

Rodgers said he isn’t sure why there was little interest in the septic loan program from those in the MRA, but said that the county plans to do more outreach around the program this year.

“We’re trying to alert the (public) and we’re planning some workshops for 2014,” he said.

For more information on the loan program, contact Craft3 at 447-9226.

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