Beginning August 18, 2017, Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District offers Residential Septic System Repair Loans to homeowners in the Clackamas River watershed for the repair or replacement of failed and failing septic systems. Locations include identified areas of Oregon City, Gladstone, Happy Valley, Damascus, Boring, Carver, Barton, Sandy, Eagle Creek, Estacada, and rural home sites along the Clackamas River and tributaries.
Why a loan program?
Old septic systems that are wearing out or leaking become a public health and water quality concern, especially when the home is along a river or stream that serves as a source of public drinking water such as the Clackamas River. If the problem is bad enough, the family may have to vacate the home until the septic system is repaired or replaced.
Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District, Clackamas County Septic and Onsite Wastewater Systems office, and Clackamas River Water Providers are partnering on this issue. The Conservation District coordinates the Loan program.
We’re excited to get this loan program started. It’s a great opportunity to protect water quality in the Clackamas River Watershed and address public health concerns. We’re fortunate to be in a position to assist homeowners with the cost of repairs that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford.
- The site of the septic system is within the boundary of the Clackamas River watershed (see map shown below).
- There is an existing residential septic system that requires repair. This program does not apply to new installations, connecting to sewer lines, or nonresidential property.
- The Clackamas County Septic and Onsite Wastewater Systems office issues a repair permit. It’s not simply a plumbing or maintenance issue.
- Failed septic systems and systems that require major repairs will receive priority for financing.
- The homeowner agrees to use one of the contractors on the Conservation District’s List of Pre-Qualified Septic System Contractors to perform the repairs.
- All owners of the property must sign the loan application and the loan agreement.
- The homeowner promises to repay the loan, and understands that the Conservation District will file a lien against the property in the amount of the loan (principal plus interest) until it is repaid.
Download the fillable form to request a loan eligibility determination by the Conservation District.
Process for Septic System Repair Loans
- The homeowner becomes aware that there is a problem with the septic system. He/she may or may not have received a notice from the County. The homeowner should ask for guidance from the Clackamas County Septic and Onsite Wastewater Systems office before taking steps to address the problem.
- The homeowner calls a septic system pumper or installer to come to the home and determine whether the problem is related to a plumbing or maintenance issue, or if the septic system needs repair. (Note: If you think you may want to apply for a loan from the Conservation District, consider having the initial site visit done by a contractor who’s on our List of Pre-Qualified Septic System Contractors. For repair or replacement work to be eligible for payment under the loan program, it must be performed by a contractor on the list. [Being included on the list is not an endorsement or a guarantee of any contractor’s performance.])
- If it’s a plumbing or maintenance issue, it’s not eligible for a loan. No permit is needed, and the contractor can go ahead and do the work. The contractor does not have to be chosen from our list.
- The homeowner, or a septic system contractor on the homeowner’s behalf, contacts the Clackamas County Septic and Onsite Wastewater Systems to request a site evaluation. A copy of the County’s Site Evaluation Report is provided to the Conservation District. The Site Evaluation Report prescribes the type of repair that is needed to obtain the permit.
- The homeowner can apply to the Conservation District for a loan at any time. Loans will only be made on systems that are required to be repaired or replaced, as documented by a repair permit from Clackamas County. All owners of the property must sign the loan application. We will review the application against the eligibility criteria, go over it with you, and discuss possible options for a loan. We may be able to pre-approve you for a loan and then finalize the actual loan agreement after you have the permit and firm cost quote(s) in hand.
- A contractor prepares a system design and an application for a permit and submits them on behalf of the homeowner to the Clackamas County Septic and Onsite Wastewater Systems office. The contractor may have to dig test pits before a permit can be issued. The costs of the initial site visit, test pits, evaluation, system design, and permit are generally not eligible for financing, and are the responsibility of the homeowner. However, the Conservation District may make exceptions and include some or all of those costs in the loan if the homeowner is unable to pay them.
- If a repair or replacement of the septic system is required, Clackamas County will issue a repair permit and might give the homeowner a timeline for completion of the work. The permitted repair is eligible to be considered for financing.
- After the repair permit has been issued, the homeowner must obtain one or more firm written quotes. The homeowner is responsible for selecting a contractor — from the Conservation District’s List of Pre-Qualified Septic System Contractors — to do the repair work. The homeowner will work with the contractor to schedule the repair. The District is not a party to this contract and is not involved in the contracting process. The District’s sole role is to provide financing.
- After the homeowner selects a contractor and approves the quote, it will be submitted to the Conservation District. The loan amount will usually be based on the amount of the quote. However, the District cannot guarantee that the loan will cover 100 percent of the project cost. The homeowner may choose to pay part of the cost and have the loan make up the difference.
- If the loan is approved, the homeowner and the Conservation District will enter into a loan agreement. If more than one person owns the property, they all must sign the loan agreement. The loan will be secured with a promissory note, backed up by a fixture filing (lien on the property) that will be recorded with Clackamas County. This ensures that if the homeowner doesn’t repay the loan, the Conservation District will be in position to collect on the loan when the home is sold or refinanced, or if the mortgage holder forecloses on the home loan.
- Clackamas County Septic and Onsite Wastewater Systems staff will inspect the completed work. They will issue a Certificate of Satisfactory Completion (CSC) to the contractor once the work passes inspection.
- Once the contractor completes the work and receives the CSC, the contractor will invoice the Conservation District for the work performed and will provide a copy of the CSC. We will pay the contractor directly, up to the amount of the loan. The homeowner’s loan reimburses us for the payment we make to the contractor.
- The homeowner will repay the loan from the Conservation District over an agreed-upon timeline. Once the loan is repaid, the Conservation District will remove the lien from the property records. The loan may be paid off early without a penalty to the homeowner.
- The homeowner is responsible for properly maintaining the septic system. This will likely require an operations and maintenance contract with the installation contractor or with a service contractor, following manufacturer’s recommendations and DEQ requirements. It may be possible to include some of these costs in the loan.
This is a general map of the program area. The boundary is the Clackamas River watershed, shown in pink. (The watershed extends past the lower border of the map and is included in the program area.)
The program area includes portions of the communities that are labeled (Oregon City, Gladstone, Happy Valley, Damascus, Boring, Sandy). It also includes Carver, Barton, Eagle Creek, Estacada, and rural home sites along the Clackamas River and its tributaries. CSWCD staff will look up the address of the Applicant’s property to confirm whether or not the site is located within the program area. The site must be in the defined program area to be considered for a loan.
To be eligible for a loan from the Conservation District, the property owner must fill out a loan application. If the Conservation District agrees to make a loan, the property owner will be required to select a contractor who is on the Conservation District’s List of Pre-Qualified Septic System Contractors to do the repair work.
All of these contractors are licensed by Oregon DEQ. Inclusion of a contractor on this list is not intended as an endorsement by Clackamas Soil and Water Conservation District or a guarantee of any contractor’s performance.
Pre-Qualified Septic System Contractors, August 1, 2017
- American On Site
503-829-7600 – David Bush
- Coffman Excavation
503-710-0960 – Steve Humphreys
Oregon City, OR
- E & A Systems, Inc.
971-282-7325 – Edward Varga
Eagle Creek, OR
- Elk Mountain Construction
503-849-8343 – Gary Backanen
- Flying H Construction
503-780-4916 – Phillip Rissel
- Jim Hicks Excavating, Inc.
503-266-5975 – Brandon Hicks
- Lil’ Stinky Environmental Service
503-351-8715 – Chris Clasen
Oregon City, OR
Documents to request loan eligibility
- Summary of the CSWCD Residential Septic System Repair Loan Program
- Description and eligibility requirements for the CSWCD Residential Septic System Repair Loan Program
- Request for eligibility determination (fillable form) – CSWCD Residential Septic System Repair Loan Program