Wake County teams up with WaterNow Alliance to support underserved communities

well in the field

In Wake County, over 90,000 people rely on 40,000 private drinking water wells and approximately a quarter of a million people depend on 90,000 septic systems. While owning your own well and septic system saves you from monthly bills, not taking care of them could end up costing thousands. That's why Wake County partnered with WaterNow Alliance to develop an outreach and engagement strategy to increase awareness and ensure those who need help know that assistance is available.

“Wake County is committed to supporting our low-income and elderly community members,” said Wake County Commissioner Tara Waters. “By partnering with WaterNow Alliance, we can make sure that people are aware that help is available to cover these costly repairs. Our dedicated staff is here to provide support every step of the way.”

The Equitable Outreach Strategy developed by WaterNow includes a toolkit of practices focused on expanding and strengthening engagement with community organizations, enhancing outreach content and strategies and actively involving County resources and program participants. The toolkit is a resource that may be applied across Wake County programs.

WaterNow Alliance works to advance transformation in the urban water sector to accelerate the widespread adoption of equitable, climate-resilient and environmentally sustainable strategies. WaterNow experts spent around 250 hours over a period of 12 months on this project.

"As part of this project, we conducted interviews with assistance program participants," said Amy Weinfurter, director of Strategic Projects at WaterNow Alliance. "People had very positive experiences and shared how the County fixed costly septic maintenance challenges or restored their confidence in their well water. Our aim is to help the County reach even more people who are eligible for, but may be unaware of, these programs."

To provide support to eligible low-income and elderly community members, Wake County is sharing information on several financial assistance programs:

  • Well and Septic Pilot Assistance Fund:
    Wake County launched a two-year pilot program to support lower-income, elderly and disabled residents who often cannot afford needed repairs to their well and septic systems. This program also helps residents with their well water testing. In total, the program will provide $200,000 in federal grant funding over a two-year period.
  • Wake County Emergency Grant Program:
    Low-income homeowners with issues causing immediate or near danger may qualify for our Emergency Grant Program. Examples of emergency repairs can include fixing wells, septic tanks, heating systems and roof hazards that, without repairs, may endanger you and your family.
  • Wake County Elderly & Disabled Program:
    Low-income elderly and/or disabled individuals can benefit from this grant, which helps with modest home repairs. Some covered repairs include roof replacement, structural repairs, making bathrooms handicap accessible, installing ramps and modifying other elements necessary to help individuals remain in their homes.
  • Wake County Assistance Programs for Water Quality Testing for Private Wells:
    Residents needing water quality testing for their wells can receive assistance if they meet income criteria.

Residents can find more information about financial assistance options to help them with private well or septic system problems at wake.gov/waterhelp.

Press Release