Stimulus money will help some local residents pay to repair or replace home sewer systems

Additional "stimulus funds" may be on their way to assist Wood County residents with their home
sewage treatment systems.
The Wood County commissioners recently gave tentative approval to assist with the coordination of up to
$60,000 of a $5 million grant for Ohio residents being provided through the American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act. The grant money is designated to be used for replacement or repair only, the money
cannot be used to pay for tap-ins to existing or new sewage treatment lines.
Though there will be no "out of pocket" expense to the county, the commissioners’ office will
administer and filter the funding through its office. The commissioners are permitted to include a
processing fee as part of the grant regulations.
In order for a county resident to receive a portion of the funds, they must meet income eligibility and
the existing sewer system must be judged in need of repair or replacement by the Wood County Health
Financially, the income of the homeowners cannot exceed 200 percent of the federal income poverty level.
For example, that figure for a family of four would be $44,100 annually.
On Thursday commissioners Tim Brown and Alvie Perkins met with Cindy Brooks, Brad Espen and Jerry
Brooks is the coordinator for the Sandusky River Watershed through W.S.O.S. Community Action Commission
Inc. Espen is the director and Bingham, environmental supervisor for the county’s health department.
The homeowner will be responsible for 25 percent of the costs; while the commissioner’s office would
funnel the funds for the other 75 percent of qualifying projects.
While only a few county homeowners will benefit from this project, all those involved indicated this
could open the door for additional monies to be directed to Wood County down the road.
"This is a pilot program," Brooks told the commissioners, noting Ohio is the only state
The commissioners are involved as the grant must be filtered through either a county, municipality or
water and sewage district.
Brooks and her office has worked with similar grants previously and offered the services to Wood County,
as she and her office are helping to coordinate other area counties in their packages.
The program is administered by the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Environmental Protection
Espen indicated he believes there are numerous systems in the county which would qualify depending on the
family’s income.
According to Bingham, however, there are time constraints placed on the grant. The money will be
allocated to the various counties or other integers by the end of the month. The system must be
installed by November.
"The very short window is the only downfall," Bingham told the commissioners.
Once approved estimates will be taken from contractors certified through the health department.
Applications will be taken through August.
Perkins and Brown gave their initial approval to the project, they will need to pass a resolution next to
week to finalize the deal. The third commissioner, Jim Carter, was not in attendance at the meeting.
Homeowners who may have a faulty or defective sewage system can contact Espen’s office at (419) 352-8402.
The health department will be the organization to verify the system needs to be repaired or replaced.
They will also help coordinate through Brooks and her office in Fremont to verify income eligibility.

"When we handled similar grants, I was surprised how many people fell under the income
requirements," Brooks said.
Brooks and her office will also be administering this program for Sandusky and Seneca counties. They will
receive a flat $500 fee for their services on each project.