SepticAs part of the Lake Monroe Community Action Initiative, Friends of Lake Monroe has launched a septic system maintenance cost-share program to help offset the cost of septic tank pumping or installing a septic tank riser. Eligible households can be reimbursed for half the cost of one or both services, with a household limit of $100 for one service or $150 for both. Apply for the program by filling out this short form to confirm that your home is located in the Monroe County portion of the Lake Monroe watershed. We will send you a confirmation email with a voucher and instructions on how to claim your reimbursement after the work is complete.

  • To be eligible for cost-share, the property must be located in Monroe County and in the Lake Monroe Watershed. (Not sure if you live in the watershed?  Check out our interactive watershed map: Watershed Map)
  • Cost-share will reimburse up to 50% of the total cost of pumping a septic system and/or installing a septic riser with a limit of $100 for either service or $150 for both services per homesite.
  • The cost-share program will be available from March 31, 2022 to July 31, 2022, or until cost-share funds are exhausted.
  • Learn about septic care by watching the one-hour recording of our Septic Maintenance and Care Workshop co-hosted by Friends of Lake Monroe and the Monroe County Health Department on March 31.
  • If more applications are received than cost-share available, cost-share will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis by the application date submitted to the office.
  • If the applicant cannot complete the project within 60 days of voucher receipt, cost-share funds will then be given to the next applicant on the list.
  • It will be the homeowner’s responsibility to hire a septic system contractor or company to pump the septic system or install a septic system riser. A list of approved companies and contractors is available on the Monroe County Health Department website here https://www.co.monroe.in.us/egov/documents/1615905855_69143.pdf
  • Applicant is responsible for all upfront costs.
  • Applicant must submit the voucher and receipt to Friends of Lake Monroe for reimbursement.
  • Homeowner will receive a completion letter and payment when the project is completed and all documents are submitted.

FAILING SEPTIC SYSTEMS POLLUTE OUR LAKES AND STREAMS

Failing septic systems are one source of bacteria and nutrient pollution in the creeks and streams feeding Lake Monroe.  You can help by making sure your system is properly maintained.

Septic Diagram

1 Septic Tank Diagram from Purdue University Extension Publication HENV-5-W “Septic Tanks: The Primary Treatment Device of Your Septic System”

  1. Pump your septic tank every 3 years. This provides an opportunity for inspection, takes care of the solids that gradually accumulate in the tank, and gives your septic field a short rest.
  2. Make your tank accessible with a septic system riser. This concrete or plastic pipe connects to the pump-out opening of your septic tank and extends to ground level.  Septic tank risers have lids that anyone can remove to easily inspect or pump your septic tank without digging up your yard.  It also provides a permanent reminder of where your septic tank is located.
  3. Think at the sink. The best way to keep your septic system working for as long as possible is to minimize what you put down the drain.  Limit use of your garbage disposal and avoid pouring fats, grease, solids, and harsh chemicals down the drain.
  4. Don’t overload the commode. Make sure no wipes, sanitary napkins, tampons, or other trash goes down your toilet.  Even if it says “flushable,” keep it out of your septic system.
  5. Don’t strain your drain. Try to stagger your use of water-heavy activities like laundry, showers, and running the dishwasher.
  6. Shield your field. Do you know where your drainfield is?  Keep your vehicles off it and avoid planting trees there.  (Prairie plants can be a nice addition.)

LEARN MORE

Clear Choices Clean Water has great information about caring for your septic system and why this is such an important issue in Indiana.  https://indiana.clearchoicescleanwater.org/pledges/septic/septic-impacts/

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a great program called “Septic Smart” with resources such as flyers to post in your rental property, detailed explanations of septic system operation, and guidance on what to do if your septic system fails. https://www.epa.gov/septic

FAQ

HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE A SEPTIC SYSTEM?
Check your property records to see if a septic system map was included with your home documents when you purchased the property.  Another way to tell is to check your utility bill. If you are on a sewer system, you should be receiving a monthly bill for sewer service.  This might be a standalone bill or it might be combined with your water bill.  If you are not paying for sewer service, you probably have a septic system somewhere on your property.

HOW DO I LOCATE MY SEPTIC TANK?
Review your property records to see if you have a map of your septic system.  If not, contact your county health department and ask them to pull your file.  For newer homes, there should be a map of your septic system on file.  For older homes, there may not be documentation available.  You may need to hire a septic system professional to locate your tank.  Once you locate your septic tank, mark the exact spot so you can find it again.  Even better, install a permanent septic tank riser.

WHAT IS THE BENEFIT OF A SEPTIC TANK RISER?
Septic tank risers are concrete or plastic pipes that connect to the pump-out opening of your septic tank and extend to ground level.  Septic tank risers have lids that anyone can remove to easily inspect or pump your septic tank without digging up your yard.  It also provides a permanent reminder of where your septic tank is located.

HOW CAN I FIND A CONTRACTOR?
The Monroe County Health Department maintains two lists of contractors:

  1. Septic system pumpers and haulers who can clean and inspect your septic tank – https://www.co.monroe.in.us/egov/documents/1615905855_69143.pdf
  2. Septic system installers who can install and repair septic systems – https://www.co.monroe.in.us/egov/documents/1620916495_91362.pdf

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