Returning Home after Wildfires? Private Wells, Septic Systems May be Eligible for FEMA Assistance | News

Almost six months after the event, many survivors are returning to their wildfire-decimated lots to begin rebuilding. While homeowner insurance is the main source of funding for repairs after a major disaster, some home repairs, such as private wells and / or sewage treatment plants, are typically not covered.

The good news is that residents in Clackamas, Douglas, Jackson, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, and Marion counties, whose private wells and septic tanks were damaged by the forest fires, may receive funding from FEMA. Households without insurance – or those whose insurance bill did not cover the cost of repairing their wells and / or septic tanks should contact FEMA to see if they might be eligible. The following has to be done:

Contact FEMA: online at; via the FEMA app; or by calling 800-621-3362 (TTY: 800-462-7585) 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. PST daily. Applicants should be sure to report damage to their private well and / or sewage treatment plant as a result of the disaster. Those using a relay service such as a Videophone, InnoCaption, or CapTel should update FEMA with their assigned number for that service. You should be aware that calls from FEMA may be from an unidentified number.

Those who have applied to FEMA and have not yet had a home inspection should notify the FEMA inspector that they have a private well and / or sewer system. Oregon residents who have applied to FEMA and are insured should contact the FEMA helpline and tell them that they are well / septically damaged in order for an inspection to be issued. If an inspection has already been carried out and no well or sewer system has been reported, applicants can send FEMA a dated and signed letter along with a contractor’s estimate that they are attractive to the well and / or sewer system.

What if an applicant has already received FEMA support for their private well / sewer system but needs additional help for those costs?

Applicants should provide FEMA with a verifiable estimate / receipt showing that the well and / or sewer system has been physically damaged, collapsed and / or ceased to function as a direct result of the disaster. Be sure to include a dated and signed letter along with the contractor’s estimate indicating that you need additional help with the well and / or sewer system.

If the valuation / receipts submitted do not specifically include this information, FEMA will call the contractor to confirm the information.

Disaster survivors who have questions about a pending disaster relief application can contact the FEMA hotline at 800-621-3362 (TTY: 800-462-7585).

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