Many Culpeper County residents are eligible for reimbursement of 50 to 80 percent toward the expense of pumping, maintaining, repairing, or replacing private septic systems. The Mountain Run, Muddy Run and Hazel River watersheds contain nearly all of Culpeper County except lands lying south of State Route 3, which drain directly to the Rapidan River, and areas north of Jeffersonton which drain directly to the Rappahannock River. The Hubbard Run area is also excluded.

The Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation District (CSWCD) grants program continues to expand its funding to help reduce bacteria pollution in local streams. The series of grants are focused on reducing any existing or potential impacts on local ground and surface water quality. Levels of E. coli bacteria in some local streams have long been identified as being higher than expected by state quality standards. Repairing or replacing dysfunctional septic systems helps to reduce E. Coli levels. An additional benefit to the property owner is the assurance that their system is up to standard and functioning properly — It’s a win-win for both water quality and property value.

Program participants are eligible for several different payments depending on the actual needs of their systems. Options include pump outs, repairs, inspections, and full system replacements. Reimbursements cover 50 percent of costs but can go as high as 80 percent based on low-income status.

Pump outs are recommended every 3-5 years and inspections are encouraged for older systems; such preventative maintenance can extend the life of a system and if repairs are indicated during the inspection, owners are eligible for additional repair payments.

Applications are required and need to be approved prior to the work being started, or funding can be declined. Free assistance with initial assessments of system needs is available from the District. Reimbursement payments are made promptly once the work has been completed. The program is entirely voluntary and assistance from the District is free of charge.

For more information on the program, call the CWSCD at (540) 825-8591. Funding for these projects have been secured but the Culpeper Soil and Water Conservation District from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Commonwealth of Virginia and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.