Q1 Update – Lake Monroe Community Action Initiative

A huge THANK YOU to the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County and to the Monroe County Health Department for their help launching our Septic System Maintenance Cost-Share Pilot Program.  There are an estimated 9,000 septic systems in the watershed (over 3,000 in Monroe County) and we know that failing septic systems are one source of bacteria and nutrient pollution in the creeks and streams feeding Lake Monroe.  The best way to avoid septic system failure is to have septic tanks pumped and inspected every 3-5 years.

Through this program, homeowners in the Monroe County portion of the Lake Monroe watershed can apply for a voucher that will reimburse 50% of the cost of septic tank pumping up to $100 per household.  Additional funding is available for households that choose to also install a septic system riser (an elevated access port to the septic tank) which makes the tank easier to find and open.

We initially hoped to recruit 50 households for the program; we currently have 85 applications.  The Community Foundation of Bloomington-Monroe County has graciously agreed to let us reallocate funds within the grant so that we can help more households.  Over 35 have already let us know they pumped their tank and over 30 attended our septic system 101 workshop in partnership with the Monroe County Health Department.  (Didn’t make it?  Watch the one-hour recording online or read through our septic maintenance tips.)  It has been great to hear testimonials from the participants.

“I am grateful to Friends of Lake Monroe for promoting the importance of septic system maintenance. Having your septic tank pumped every 3 to 5 years is such a small task that not only protects the functioning of a septic system but helps keep Lake Monroe clean, safe, and beautiful.” – Shawn Wilson
“In Bloomington, we all drink from Lake Monroe. Isn’t that worth protecting?
Leaking septic systems are polluting our streams and lakes – get pumped!
Do your neighbors a favor – get your septic system checked and pumped.” – Richard Wilk

“I found out it is not wise to put bleach or anti-bacterials down your drains or toilet stools. It kills the bacteria & prevents the septic from doing its job! I am guilty of doing this. We definitely need to protect the lake for our great-grandchildren & future generations. Thanks Friends of Lake Monroe!” – Edna DePierre

Our next big focus is hosting three Lake Monroe Community Forums. These events will provide a chance for the public to learn about the watershed management plan, help prioritize project implementation, and mobilize our community to take action. All three forums will cover the same information and provide the same opportunity for public input and will take place from 6:45-8:30 pm.
• Tuesday, May 24th in Bloomington Indiana
• Thursday, June 9th in Nashville, Indiana
• Wednesday, June 15th via Zoom

We hope you can join us to share your thoughts! Lake Monroe Watershed Coordinator Maggie Sullivan is also available to give presentations to organizations with an interest in water quality and the future of Lake Monroe. If you have a group that would like to learn more, please reach out to watershed@friendsoflakemonroe.org or by phone to (812) 558-0217.

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