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Septic Repair Program

Since 2006, Haywoood Waterways has managed, in partnership with the Haywood County Environmental Health Deparment, the Septic Repair Program, providing funding to repair or replace a failing septic system that will impact adjacent waterways. We have replaced 191 septic systems to date, avoiding over 70,000 gal/day of wastewater into our waterways.

Haywood Co Wastewater Treatment Septic Repair Program

Timeframe | 2006 - Present Day
  • Haywood County Environmental Health Department

Funding Source | Pigeon River Fund, NC Department of Environmental Quality 319, Tennessee Valley Authority, NC Wastewater Discharge Elimination Program (WaDE)
Amount Awarded | -insert-

The focus of our Septic Repair program (also known as the Haywood County Wastewater Treatment program) is untreated wastewater, or fecal bacteria, entering a nearby waterway. When maintained, septic systems are efficient for proper treatment from toilets, washing machines, dishwashers, and showers. However, maintenance is easy to overlook and when issues do arise, high costs are associated with these systems.

This program is two-fold: septic repairs would eliminate untreated human waste sources and lead to immediate surface water quality improvements. Additionally, monetary assistance would be provided to those of low-income households and allows Haywood Waterways and partners to provide quick responses and instant results to assist citizens and protect the waters of Haywood County. Repairing septic systems are a sustainable and worthwhile endeavor, as they are able to last for more than 30 years. 

The NC Wastewater Discharge Elimination (WaDE) Program repaired systems for low income homeowners. However, WaDE was cut from the state budget in 2011. According to the Haywood County Environmental Health Department (EHD), there continues to be great need for repairs and financial assistance. Fortunately, grants from the Pigeon River Fund and DEQ 319 Program have allowed the Septic Repair program to continue locally since 2006. Providing funds locally enables a quicker turnaround for projects that will last more than 30 years. There are obvious environmental implications that are addressed through these repairs as well. Multiple grant opportunities with NC 205(j) and 319 programs have allowed us to evaluate stream bacteria levels throughout Haywood County. With this, microbial source tracking techniques were able to determine the source of the contamination, and they are of human-origin throughout the county.


Getting on the list for Septic Repairs:

  • Contact Haywood County Environmental Health Department at (828) 452-6651. Depending on the cycle, funds will be readily available for shovel-ready projects and they will confirm this with us. Project partners would prioritize projects by proximity to stream and severity of failure.

  • With available funds, homeowners will obtain three bids from different contractors. These contractors have already been identified and used for previous repairs. EHD staff would review the bids for accuracy and confirm that their cost estimate is reasonable. EHD will also take care of permitting after being on site and inspect final installations.

  • After permit approval and the homeowner chooses a contractor to use, payment would be issued directly to the selected contractor by HWA. Using PRF dollars, HWA pays 75% of the cost, while the homeowners will pay the remaining 25%. The homeowner is informed of this payment schedule, and would be part of the negotiation process with the contractors before construction begins.


Since our septic repair program began in 2006, we have repaired 192 failing septic systems (through August 2023) with the help of Pigeon River Fund, Tennessee Valley Authority, DEQ 319, and WaDE. We anticipate we will reach the 200 milestone by the end of 2024. The benefits of each repair are immediate as each prevents as much as 360 gallons of untreated wastewater and associated bacteria, pathogens, nutrients, and chemicals from flushing into local streams. This amounts to 69,120 gallons per day accounting for all repairs.end far downstream, and those impacts can compound if other water quality issues are present.

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