By Stefanie Jackson – The Accomack-Northampton Planning District Commission (A-NPDC) is seeking applicants for the Eastern Shore Septic Pump-Out Program.
A successful applicant can get a septic system pumped out for free or receive assistance for the costs to repair or replace the septic system, depending on the applicant’s location, income, and other factors.
The program is made possible by funding from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality for improving the Chesapeake Bay watershed and taking action on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Water Quality Implementation Plan for creeks with bacteria levels above recommended levels.
There are two parts to the program. Low- and moderate-income families who own their homes and live in Accomack or Northampton County, on the Chesapeake Bay watershed, can apply for the free septic pump-out service.
For this benefit, the household income limit is less than 80% of the area median income, or below about $40,000 annually.
The second part of the program applies only to homes in certain areas of Northampton County – homes on the watersheds of Hungars Creek, Jacobus Creek, Mattawoman Creek, Barlow Creek, The Gulf, and Kings Creek.
Primary residences, second homes, and rental homes qualify as long as the applicant is the homeowner, who may apply for septic system pump-out, inspection, and repair or replacement. Applicants can receive cost-share assistance on a sliding scale based on income.
An applicant with an annual income more than 120% of the median area income, or higher than about $70,000, can receive a 50% cost share without providing income justification.
Northampton County Supervisor John Coker recommended the program during a recent supervisors meeting attended by A-NPDC Director of Housing Development Bobbie Jo Wert.
“We need people to pump out their septic systems, and if we can get them done for free, why not?” Coker asked.
The Virginia Department of Health recommends pumping out home septic systems every three to five years.
The A-NPDC program is especially valuable to applicants who qualify for septic system replacement. A new septic system can cost up to $30,000, Wert noted.
If a homeowner is unsure if property is in a qualifying location, the homeowner may call Wert or A-NPDC Director of Planning Shannon Alexander to look up the residential address before beginning the application process.
The Eastern Shore Septic Pump-Out Program has limited funding and is available to qualifying applicants on a first-come, first-serve basis.