PARADISE – Grants were only made available to help overcome the hurdles that Paradise residents face in rebuilding – due to the lack of a sewer in the city.
Residents have expressed frustration with the city’s process of approving permits required to go through the septic tank process and reconstruction plans, and a grant organized by the North Valley Community Foundation is providing much-needed funding for represent those who cannot currently afford to replace their septic tank system.
In other cities in Butte County, a system costs between $ 6,500 and $ 8,000 for a home without a home, according to a September 1 foundation report, “The Impact of the Warehouse Fire Disaster on Housing and Housing Conditions in the Tri-County Area” Sewerage. Many residents are stuck financially or for weeks or months in the city’s current process before they can approve their septic tank plan.
To meet this need, the Butte Strong Fund has approved a $ 875,000 grant to help reduce the cost of repairing and replacing sewer systems for homeowners rebuilding in the Camp Fire area, which is part of the Rebuild Paradise Foundation was awarded.
The grant provides up to $ 7,500 to repair or replace septic tanks, depending on income levels. The Rebuild Paradise Foundation program is for those who do not meet the criteria for Butte County and City funding.
“For fire-affected properties, major wastewater treatment plant component failures are estimated to be over 40%,” said Charles Brooks, executive director of the Rebuild Paradise Foundation.
The foundation estimates the grant will help more than 200 families rebuild. Since the camp fire, the city has issued 403 certificates of use for rebuilt houses.
The grant not only serves paradise, but also what the Rebuild Paradise Foundation calls the “missing middle” or low-income lower middle class households. At least 75% of the grant funding must go to survivors seeking reconstruction.
“We want to motivate new residents and those who want to rebuild,” said Brooks.
While these grants mean more cash for an important, expensive part of the rebuilding process, residents at the city council meeting on Wednesday expressed their frustration at the ongoing delays before they could begin the septic tank plan. It is possible that many will not be able to use these funds until an alleged fuse is fixed in the approval process.
At that meeting, other residents also asked if portable toilets will be allowed on properties – once allowed under the old emergency ordinance, but no longer – once they’ve waited some time for the verification process for their sewage treatment plants to begin with the city.
City Manager’s Assistant Collette Curtis said, “There are many individual situations that are unique to each individual,” and she said the city is “very happy that Rebuild Paradise is making this available.”
Curtis explained what happens when a number of people fail to move forward in the rebuilding process and therefore cannot access these funds. “We haven’t seen large numbers expressing that they have problems.”
For those who are, city reconstruction attorneys are available at the Resiliency Center, she said.
In addition, the city will offer another grant that will help fund wastewater treatment plants, hopefully within a few months pending an approved application from the state, Curtis said.
Depending on the city’s responses, based on the current residents’ experience of rebuilding delays, time will tell when residents can begin using the grant funds made possible by the Foundation and go through the process for the final construction of their sewer system . Residents can visit https://www.rebuildparadise.org/septic-infrastructure-grant to learn more about the program, whether to qualify and how to apply.