National Preparedness Month: Older adults take control in 1, 2, 3
We know older adults can face greater risks when it comes to the extreme weather events and emergencies we face, especially if they are living alone, are low-income, have a disability, depend on electricity for medical needs, or live in rural areas.Find Out More
Women in STEM: EWEB Engineer Laura Ohman's second degree brings a lifetime of benefits
EWEB Engineer Laura Ohman shares how getting her second degree was one of the most difficult and rewarding things she's ever accomplished.Find Out More
Bethel neighbors boost emergency preparedness during Emergency Water Station event
Staff gave out about 300 emergency water containers to enthusiastic community members eager to learn more about the water station.Find Out More
How does EWEB recover the costs of serving customers
Here’s an overview of the three primary ways EWEB recovers the costs of serving customers and generates the funds needed to keep the power on and the water flowing.Find Out More
Stay cool during extreme heat events
With temperatures forecasted to reach over 100 degrees over the next several days, we've prepared some tips and tricks to help you stay cool.Find Out More
Women in STEM: Meet our servant leader and maker of tough decisions
Karen Kelley, Chief Operations Officer at EWEB, describes herself as a "servant leader," offering support and mentoring to four division managers at EWEB.Find Out More
EWEB establishes multipronged resiliency policy
Disaster recovery and prevention are being embedded in all operations and processes.Find Out More
Women in STEM: Meet the water quality specialist who ensures the safety of Eugene's drinking water
Brenda Casarez began working at EWEB in 2009, collecting samples from all over the water system testing for different contaminants.Find Out More
EWEB will close College Hill Reservoir site for Fourth of July
EWEB will continue the annual closure of its College Hill Reservoir over the Fourth of July holiday. For the past several years, EWEB has restricted access to the reservoir surface around the Fourth of July to ensure people do not set off fireworks which can damage the roof and potentially impact drinking water quality.Find Out More
EWEB and City finalize sale of former riverfront headquarters
The two buildings on 4.4 acres will transformed into Eugene's new City Hall. EWEB and the City signed closing documents and officially handed over the site keys on Tuesday.Find Out More
EWEB, Partners Receive $7.5M Grant from NOAA
EWEB, McKenzie Watershed Council, McKenzie River Trust and the U.S. Forest Service are working to improve major tributary for water quality, wildfire resiliency and fish habitat.Find Out More
EWEB begins major water pipeline upgrades
This summer, EWEB is launching several construction water pipeline projects to enhance the reliability and earthquake resiliency of drinking water service for Eugene residents.Find Out More
Currin Substation - the origin of the name
Hugh Currin was hired as an engineer at EWEB in 1923. Later, he became the chief engineer for the utility.Find Out More
EWEB Safety Tip: Celebrate responsibly with balloons
If your graduation celebration involves balloons, make sure they are secured with a weight. Otherwise, they can float away and come into contact with overhead power lines.Find Out More
EWEB programs make electric mobility more accessible
Electric mobility seems to be everywhere these days, but does availability equal accessibility? Here at EWEB we’ve determined that the answer is ‘no’ and are working to bridge that gap through EV car shares, community grants and electric bike rebates.Find Out More
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EWEB offering over $3 million in grants to fix septic systems damaged by Holiday Farm Fire
February 14, 2023 • Adam Spencer, Communications Specialist
The Eugene Water & Electric Board (EWEB) has secured over $3 million to help McKenzie Valley homeowners repair or replace septic systems damaged in the Holiday Farm Fire.
Eligible grantees can receive up to $35,000, depending on the type of septic systems and household income qualifications.
Improperly maintained septic systems threaten the McKenzie River – the sole source of drinking water for nearly 200,000 people in the Eugene area. Septic systems that leak can contaminate the watershed with unsafe bacteria, provoke harmful algal blooms, and harm fish and wildlife.
EWEB has worked with McKenzie Valley residents for decades to incentivize responsible septic maintenance. With over 535 properties impacted by the Holiday Farm Fire, EWEB is eager to provide this new program with robust, direct financial assistance to help people recover and get their lives back in order.
“Our friends and neighbors upriver have gone through so many challenges in their long journeys recovering from the fire,” said Nancy Toth, an EWEB environmental specialist who coordinates programs to help McKenzie Valley residents take care of the watershed. “With these grants, EWEB and our partners are able to provide meaningful support and take a large financial burden off their lists of concerns.”
EWEB is able to offer these Septic System Repair and Replacement Grants thanks to a collaboration with Lane County and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Onsite Financial Aid Program (OSFAP). Both Lane County and DEQ OSFAP received federal funds from the American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) and chose to partner with EWEB to distribute the money to affected residents.
“Lane County and DEQ came to EWEB because of our established track record of enacting meaningful support on the ground,” said EWEB Business Line Manager Anna Wade, who is helping implement the grant program. “Since the Holiday Farm Fire, EWEB has helped folks recover with programs that also protect the watershed and reduce the impacts of future fires.”
To receive Septic System Grant funding through ARPA, applicants must meet the following criteria:
- Applicant must be the current property owner.
- The property must be located within the Holiday Farm Fire perimeter and have sustained structural damage or destruction.
- Septic system repairs or installation must be completed by the property owner or a Licensed Onsite System Installer, certified by the DEQ.
- Completed septic projects must be inspected by Lane County, with permit status listed as “final.”
- Septic system grant funding is retroactive to March 3, 2021
Any changes in ownership that may have occurred after the Holiday Farm Fire may impact landowner eligibility. Applicants who have received other federal disaster assistance may be impacted in their eligibility amounts.
“At this point, we are encouraging everyone in the fire-affected area to apply,” said Misty Merriam, EWEB’s customer programs coordinator, who is helping with applications. “Once you apply, we can match your request to the funds we have available. If we can’t match you with these grants, we can recommend other sources of funding and still help you along.”
EWEB is currently accepting applications and has already matched dozens of people to funds.
For upriver homeowners who have entered into loan agreements with EWEB’s 0% Septic Infrastructure Loan Program since the fire, EWEB will deploy these grant funds to qualifying homeowners to pay off remaining loan balances where applicable.
“We want to make sure that homeowners who have already taken steps to protect the watershed by repairing or upgrading their septic systems are eligible to receive these funds,” Toth said. “Not everyone will qualify, but we welcome all interested homeowners to contact us to see what we can do to support their good stewardship.”
To learn more about the Septic System Repair and Replacement Grants Program, interested landowners can go to the Landowner Assistance page at eweb.org/septic.