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Barnstable County Program Finances $40 Million in Septic Upgrades

Filed in Department News and Updates 12/12/17 at 12:56 pm     509

BARNSTABLE (MA) December 12, 2017 – Since May 2006, the Barnstable County Community Septic Management Loan Program (CSMLP) has loaned $40 million to Barnstable County residents to finance the replacement of failed residential septic systems. The replacement can be a conventional or Innovative/Alternative (IA) system or a sewer hook-up. Whatever the case, the loan amount covers all costs including design and site restoration. Since May 2006, the $40 million in loans has financed over 3,600 projects with an average cost of $11,000. The loans carry a 5% interest rate over a 20-year term. The loan process itself is simple with a typical approval turn-around time of 24 hours.

Operating within the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment, the CSMLP is funded by the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust (MCWT), which, in turn, receives funding from the United States Environmental Protection Agency. These funds are supplemented by state matching funds and the repayment of funds from previous borrowers. When loans to the County are repaid, the money is recycled and lent out again.

When the program began in 1997, Barnstable County had contracts with all 15 Cape towns for program administration but only the towns had the authority to borrow and assess betterments. This approach required individual town meeting authorization creating a bottleneck in the process, sometimes delaying critical projects. This changed in 2006 when the Cape Cod congressional delegation, working with Barnstable County Commissioners, successfully sponsored legislation enabling the County to assess betterments to secure the loans. At that time, the Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates gave the County the authority to borrow $30 million from the MCWT for loan purposes. This enabled the County to take on full responsibility for the program on behalf of Cape towns including the billing and collecting of payments.

Kendall Ayers, Program Administrator, states, “I am very proud to be part of this very successful Barnstable County program serving the residents of Cape Cod for over 11 years now. With the cost of repairing and replacing failed septic systems on the rise, it is no surprise the program is a success. Having a failed septic system is a crisis for a homeowner. It goes beyond the financial burden with the potential for negative effects on quality of life and even health. The loan program is critical for easing the financial burden of septic system replacement. But more than that, it enables projects to be done as quickly possible so people can resume their normal lives.”

Barnstable County Commissioner and Chairman Leo Cakounes said, “The CSMLP is an excellent program on two counts. First, it provides a truly essential service to County residents in terms of protecting public health. Second, it does so while protecting public funds with safeguards in place to ensure that loans are repaid. In my estimation, the public could not be better served.”

For more information on the CSMLP contact Kendall Ayers at 508-375-6610 or visit www.barnstablecountysepticloan.org