CANTON — The St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators passed a resolution Monday authorizing a contract between the county and New York state for the Septic System Replacement Program.
If signed and approved by the state, $340,000 will be approved for use in replacing deficient septic systems along water bodies throughout the county.
Jason C. Pfotenhauer, director of the St. Lawrence County Planning Department, hopes to get the word out about the program, which will offer half the cost — up to $10,000 — of replacing relevant septic systems.
The program has become necessary due to effluent runoff from defunct septic systems polluting certain nearby water bodies.
“The intent for this program,” he said, “is to prevent the effluent from seeping into these bodies of water.
“... access to the funds,” he added, “is limited by geography.”
He said that houses along the St. Lawrence River from Hammond up to Oswegatchie qualify, as well as those along the Raquette River from the village of Potsdam boundary up to the mouth of the St. Lawrence. This includes the towns of Potsdam, Norfolk and Massena.
The tributaries associated with the Raquette River are eligible as well.
The towns of Clifton and Fine along the Little River also qualify.
In order to receive funding, Mr. Pfotenhauer said the septic system has to be within 250 feet of the eligible water body.
Mr. Pfotenhauer said that the septic system must be in a deficient state, and that no funds will be used for new homes that are building septic systems.
He also said that the people whose septic systems qualify for the program must pay up front, as this is a “reimbursement” program.
A second resolution adopted Monday designated the North Country Housing Council to administer the Septic System Replacement Program. Mr. Pfotenhauer said the council will be in charge of inspecting septic tanks and sending relevant paperwork back to the county so that they can cut the checks to individuals.
Larry Denesha, R-DeKalb, voted against the North Country Housing Council being the administrator for the septic program.
“Unfortunately,” Mr. Denesha said, “it is the only entity that submitted a bid.”
He said he’s had some bad experiences with them, and that they would not be his first choice to administer the program.
Mr. Denesha voted in favor of the contract resolution to fund the Septic System Replacement Program and, regardless of who administers it, is happy that people will receive money to fix their septic systems.