County Offers Help for Replacing Septic Systems in Environmentally Sensitive Areas Along Lake Ontario Shoreline

OSWEGO COUNTY – Oswego County homeowners and small business owners who have failing or septic systems that do not meet today’s standards and are in environmentally-sensitive areas may be eligible for assistance through the New York State Septic System Replacement Program.

The program is administered by the Oswego County Department of Community Development, Tourism and Planning.

Property owners who live in areas that have been identified as priority areas for septic system replacement will be notified by mail.

The letters will be sent by May 25.

The designation is based on the location’s vulnerability to contamination, known water quality problems, and other criteria set by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Health.

Most of the properties are located along the Lake Ontario shoreline.

Donna Scanlon, program administrator for the Department of Community Development, Tourism and Planning, said the program can provide up to 50 percent of a homeowner’s investment in an upgraded septic system and leach field, for up to $10,000.

It will be necessary for interested homeowners to work with a licensed professional engineer to access the soils and site factors to determine if a system requires a repair or replacement to meet current NYS Health Code.

If approved to participate in the program, engineering costs can be reimbursed up to 50 percent (not to exceed $3,000) of the total project cost.

After approval to participate has been granted, the applicant will have 60 days to complete the septic system installation and submit the appropriate paperwork for reimbursement.

The program can reimburse contractors, excavators and engineers.

“This is an environmental resource protection program, not an income-based program,” said Scanlon. “That’s why it is necessary for pre-site approval of the land parcel.”

The project must be pre-approved for funding, and the work must be completed and approved by the local code enforcement office, the designing engineer and the Oswego County Health Department.

All septic system designs must be completed by an engineer who is licensed in New York State.

To receive pre-approval, the property must be the primary residence of the homeowner, and the homeowner or small business owner must apply to the Oswego County NYS Septic System Replacement Fund Program after engineering analysis and prior to septic system or leach field installation or upgrades.

The program administration team will review all applications to ensure the costs of the design and installation are reasonable. In some cases, up to 50 percent of the total cost may not be approved if the costs are not justifiable.
Homeowners may download the application at
For more information, call the county Department of Community Development, Tourism and Planning weekdays at 315-349-8292 or visit