Workshop offers help for homeowners with failing septic systems

Homeowners in Sussex County are being invited to a free public workshop on June 27 on financial assistance available to replace failing septic systems. The workshop will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 27, at the First State Community Action Agency, 308 North Railroad Avenue, Georgetown.

The workshop launches DNREC’s community outreach campaign to assist qualifying homeowners with low-interest or no-interest loans through Delaware’s Septic Rehabilitation Loan Program (SRLP). Loans are secured by a mortgage lien on the rehabilitated property. SRLP helps property owners meet the regulatory requirements of replacing malfunctioning systems.

“Failing septic systems are potential sources for groundwater contamination, so replacing malfunctioning systems protects our water resources and helps prevent the spread of infection and disease,” said Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Collin O’Mara. “This workshop offers homeowners the opportunity to learn more and participate in DNREC’s program that assists with the cost of replacing a failing septic system.”

The Septic Rehabilitation Loan Program is managed by DNREC’s Financial Assistance Branch with technical assistance from the Ground Water Discharges Section.The workshop and community outreach campaign were developed by DNREC, in partnership with First State Community Action Agency of Georgetown and Dover.

DNREC’s Ground Water Discharges Section estimates that there are approximately 80,000 on-site septic systems or cesspools throughout Delaware. Approximately 18 percent of these may be malfunctioning, causing possible health hazards and pollution problems. Homeowners, who may have a failing septic system or those who own an older system, especially one more than 20 years old, are encouraged to attend the workshop.

At the workshop participants can:
• View a septic system model and learn about the signs of a failing system.
• Watch a short presentation on septic system maintenance and find out what steps are needed to maintain a safe environment and the longevity of a system.
• Receive brochures and information on the loans available and how to qualify.
• Meet one-on-one with program specialists from First State Community Action Agency and DNREC to discuss the application process and have questions answered.

Workshop participants are being encouraged, but are not required, to RSVP their plans to attend by contacting Phil Miller, DNREC Financial Assistance Branch, at or (302) 739-9300 by June 26. Light refreshments will be provided.

Funding for the low-interest loan program is made possible through the Delaware Water Pollution Control Revolving Loan Fund provided to municipalities for wastewater infrastructure projects. The no-interest loan option is funded from interest loan repayments from the Delaware Water Pollution Control Revolving Loan Fund.

More information on the Septic Rehabilitation Loan Program is available online and in a free program brochure at For more information, contact Phil Miller, DNREC Financial Assistance Branch at (302) 739-9300.