$2.5 million grant to address failing septic systems at Lake of the Ozarks | Mid-Missouri News

KIMBERLING CITY – H2Ozarks has received a $2.5 million grant from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to address faulty on-site wastewater treatment systems (OWTS), according to a news release.

Eligible homeowners in select watersheds surrounding Lake of the Ozarks, Harry S. Truman Lake, Pomme de Terre Lake, Lake Niangua and Table Rock Lake will receive financial assistance to repair or replace defective OWTS systems.

“This program will help prioritize, repair or replace wastewater systems that pose an imminent threat to human and environmental health,” said Chief Operating Officer Carin Love.

The funding aims to address common causes of OWTS failure: aging infrastructure, inadequate design, old and corroding tanks and poor septic tank maintenance.

According to an agricultural engineering article published by the MU Extension Program, nearly 30% of all housing units in Missouri use OWTS. The expansion program also cites national surveys that indicate 70% of systems are not functioning properly.

The image above shows the watersheds in the project's target areas. Missouri Department of Natural Resources

“If a broken septic system is not addressed, homeowners' wastewater may back up into their home or into their yard,” said Jerry Harman, H2Ozark program director.

Harman also noted the damage that a failure of the system could have on the surrounding area.

“That wastewater could then drain into one of our local streams or waterways,” Harman said. “It is very important that these faulty systems are fixed.”

A failed system could also contaminate drinking water wells and contaminate rivers, lakes and streams, Harman said. This could harm Missouri's natural resources and wildlife. People may also be prevented from using lakes and rivers for recreation.

Apartment and single-family homeowners who live in the project's target area could be eligible for funding depending on their income, Harman said. Here's the breakdown:

  • Households with annual income <$45,000 are eligible for a 100% grant, which can be up to $40,000 in assistance.
  • Households with annual incomes between $45,000 and $61,000 are eligible for an 80 percent grant, which can be up to $32,000 in assistance.

H2Ozarks has been advocating for this type of funding since 2020, when the organization's previous DNR grant/loan program ended, the release said.

“I believe some of this is related to COVID in the ‘COVID years,’ which caused a delay in funding,” Harman said.

H2Ozarks is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving water quality in Arkansas and Missouri.

You might also like

Comments are closed.