Homeowners with damaged septic tanks or septic system problems due to recent floods may find financial help from an unexpected source. The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, better known as FEMA, has announced that it will provide disaster assistance for homeowners who experienced damage or problems to their well or septic system during this spring’s severe storms. Some restrictions do apply, but homeowners struggling with repair costs and denied insurance claims may be able to breathe a little easier with the help of these emergency relief funds.
To qualify for help from FEMA, homeowners must meet the following requirements:
- The damaged well must be the sole source of water for the property
- The repairs must not be covered by insurance
- FEMA must inspect the well or septic tank to determine the appropriate course of action
- If additional repairs are required after inspection, the homeowner must retain receipts for all work performed or copies of the estimate along with a statement by the contractor that the repairs are necessary for the home to remain habitable.
This additional funding can provide much-needed relief for underinsured homeowners in the affected areas. Many home insurance policies specifically exclude damage caused by flooding unless the homeowners took out additional policy riders to cover that damage. FEMA recommends that inspections be requested and performed prior to the work being done. Failure to do so may result in some or all of the claimed amount being denied for reimbursement.
Added help from the U.S. Small Business Administration
For homeowners who do not qualify for FEMA funds, the Small Business Administration (SBA) may be able to offer short-term loans to bridge the gap between the time repairs are made and the insurance payment needed to cover those repairs. When the homeowner receives the insurance disbursement, the proceeds can be used to pay off the SBA loan. This can allow valuable flexibility for homeowners in managing repairs due to recent flooding. Not all flood victims will qualify for these SBA loans; however, these financial arrangements can allow homeowners to repair the damage to their properties without waiting for insurance companies to pay out on their claims.
Avoiding future septic system problems
While no amount of preparation can prevent the damage caused by severe floods, homeowners can take steps to improve the functioning of their septic tank systems to avoid future septic system problems. Installing a septic aerator can boost the efficiency of an aging or underperforming system by increasing the rate of decomposition achieved by the bacteria inside the tank. This can remediate existing septic tank problems and can reduce the chance of future failures for systems currently in good working order. Aerobic septic systems can reduce or eliminate biomat development in the field avoiding most septic system problems. This can significantly improve the function of the entire septic system and allow faster breakdown of particulate matter and solid wastes inside the tank.
Septic aeration systems like those sold by Aero-Stream cannot prevent flood damage to home septic systems. They excel, however, in delivering improved efficiency and reducing the likelihood of septic system problems to provide homeowners with peace of mind and increased longevity for their household waste management systems.