Loan program makes failing septic system repairs possible

A year of success: helping homeowners, protecting the environment 

A failing septic system can be costly for homeowners and to the environment. Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department helped lead the way for a Regional Loan Program, which offers homeowners affordable loans for septic system repairs and replacement. Since July of 2016, the program has extended more than $4 million in loans to families across Western Washington. In that same time period, 34 Pierce County families received more than $1 million in loans.

“The Clean Water Loan program helps homeowners and the environment,” said Gary Porter, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department on-site sewage and well permitting program manager. “Healthy septic systems help to protect our lakes, streams, and beaches from untreated wastewater,” Porter said.

About the program: In 2014, the Health Department partnered with Craft3, a nonprofit community lender, to offer affordable Clean Water Loans to Pierce County homeowners to repair or replace failing septic systems. Replacement of a septic system could cost $15,000 or more. Loans went to people who might not otherwise get help.

The same year, the Health Department was the lead applicant for a State Department of Ecology grant, forming the Regional Loan Program. At that time, other counties had their own loan programs for septic systems; some that dated back to the early 2000s. These programs had different lenders and requirements. When the Regional Loan Program went into effect in July of 2016, it standardized the process with Craft 3 offering Clean Water Loans for Pierce, Clallam, Grays Harbor, Island, Jefferson, King, Kitsap, Mason, Pacific, Snohomish, Thurston, and Whatcom counties.

Since 2014 in Pierce County, 71 families have received Clean Water Loans for septic system repairs or replacement totaling more than $1.7 million. Learn more about the program and the qualifications at

  – Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department