Decrepit and failing home sewage systems could be a health risk to communities in Ohio, and that is why Gov. Mike DeWine and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency are allocating funds to fix these systems across the state.
"If these systems are not functioning correctly, it can allow for untreated wastewater to go to the creeks that we know many kids in our residences play and let their pets go in," Hamilton County Health Commissioner Greg Kesterman said.
That wastewater could carry dangerous bacteria, like salmonella, into one of the thousands of creeks in the area.
The Ohio EPA said about one-third of home sewage systems — like septic tanks — are failing and in need of repairs. Kesterman said some of these systems are between 30 and 40 years old, and homeowners might need to replace the entire system.
About $1.6 million dollars will be used to help fix these systems as part of DeWine's water-quality plan, H2Ohio. Hamilton and Clermont counties will each receive about $150,000 for this plan.
"It's a good start," Jerry Rouch, the environmental/financial assistance chief for the Ohio EPA, said. "There are very few sources of funding for home sewage treatment system improvements. There could be as many as 300,000 systems that are failing or failed."