State offering grants to help Lake Waukewan shoreline owners comply wiht new Meredith septic system ordinance
Published Date Written by Michael KitchMEREDITH — The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) has awarded the Lake Winnipesaukee Watershed Association (LWWA) two grants to assist property owners in the Lake Waukewan watershed with the cost evaluating, repairing and replacing septic systems.
Pat Tarpey, executive director of the LWWA, said that effluent from failing septic system has been identified as major risk to water quality throughout the Lake Winnipesaukee watershed by management plans developed for Lake Waukewan, Meredith Bay and Sanders Bay. Since little of the watershed is served by public sewer, she said that addressing the risks of aging and failing septic systems is a concern for many communities, particularly Meredith, where Lake Waukewan is the sole source of municipal drinking water.
The grants were awarded on the heels of a health regulation bearing on septic system within 250 feet of Lake Waukewan, which the Board of Selectmen adopted in December. The regulation requires that some 26 undocumented septic systems, designated as high risk of failure, be evaluated within two years. By providing financial assistance to those who would incur expenses to comply with the regulation, the grants address one of the concerns raised by its opponents.
Tarpey explained that the grants complement the implementation of the regulation while offering assistance to property owners in Meredith, New Hampton and Center Harbor within 250 feet of the lake. The first grant, awarded through the Source Water Protection Program and amounting to nearly $12,000, will help to fund the evaluation and certification of septic systems by reimbursing property owners for half the cost up to a maximum of $250. Tarpey indicated that priority would be assigned those systems deemed to pose the highest risk.
The second grant, awarded through the watershed assistance program, makes some $40,000 available to property owners for the repair, improvement or replacement of their septic systems. Although all properties within the Lake Waukewan watershed are eligible, Tarpey said that priority will be given to those within 250 feet of Lake Waukewan and Lake Winona at greatest risk of failing. The grant will defray one-third of the cost of repairing, improving or replacing a system up to a maximum of $4,000.
Tarpey said that LWWA will administer the grants and expected both programs would be offered by April or May. Those seeking more information should contact the Lake Winnipesaukee Watershed Association at 581-6632.