PENQUIS - Six communities in Penobscot and Piscataquis Counties have agreed to develop a joint application for funding to help households replace failing septic systems and wells. The Dexter Town Council has agreed to serve as the lead community for a partnership of towns that include Dover-Foxcroft, Dexter, Enfield, Howland, Newport and Mattawamkeag. Grant funds would be provided by the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development (CDBG) through a statewide competition for funding through the CDBG Housing Assistance program.
Each year there are nearly 4000 permits issued for replacement sewer systems in the State. Failing wells are more common during dry weather, but pollution and inadequate volume of water affect households any time they canít afford to make the improvements. A new septic system may cost $7,000 to $11,000, while a new well might average around $4,500. If the application is successful, the participating towns in the Penquis Well and Septic Replacement Program will be able to provide income eligible residents in their communities with grant funds to replace failing well and septic systems.
During the months of January and February the participating towns will be seeking to understand how best to assist local residents with well and septic problems. The Town of Dexter, for example, is interested in maintaining the water quality in Lake Wasookeag and will be seeking to help income eligible homeowners that are affecting the quality of the lake water. Each of the participating communities will be seeking to cooperate with homeowners to understand the extent of the problem and target resources to eligible households. Town meeting votes in each of the participating towns will be sought later this winter and spring if the grant is approved.
Interested homeowners should contact their town office and indicate their interest. It is important that towns hear from local residents because funding is dependent upon a strong case being made for assistance. Income eligible homeowners will be assisted to procure contractors to perform the needed improvements or replacements. Grant funds will pay for the needed improvements. Coordination will occur with other programs of support for septic, well and home improvement offered through such agencies as Maine State Housing, Rural Development, Community Development Block Grant Program, Penquis CAP and others. Penquis CAP, in coordination with Eastern Maine Development Corporation, is assisting the towns to make application for the $250,000 grant.
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