Septic System and Sewer Tie-In loan programs

Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank, in cooperation with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and Rhode Island Housing, launched the Community Septic System Loan Program (CSSLP) in the spring of 1999. This program allows residents without access to sewers to access low-interest loans to repair or replace failing or substandard septic systems, or to replace a cesspool with a septic system. 

In addition to the CSSLP program, Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank and Rhode Island Housing oversee the Sewer Tie-In Loan Fund (STILF) to provide low-interest loans to homeowners so they can tie into local sewer systems and abandon their individual septic systems. 

These programs are important to help protect our environment while providing homeowners with access to low-interest loans.

Community Septic System Loan Program (CSSLP)  

The goal of this program is to safeguard public health, and protect and improve ground and surface water resources by ensuring proper functioning and maintenance of all septic systems in participating communities.

Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank uses federal dollars recycled from previous Clean Water State Revolving Fund loans to provide the source of funds for the CSSLP. This program allows communities without wastewater treatment facilities to access low-interest loans to assist property owners with the cost of repairing or replacing failing or substandard septic systems, including the replacement of a cesspool with a septic system. 

To access these funds, communities must first complete a DEM-approved On-Site Wastewater Management Plan. The community then negotiates a loan with Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank. Once the loan is negotiated, the community may allow residents to access the funds.  

Residents of participating communities can access a CSSLP application through their municipality. Rhode Island Housing’s role is to underwrite and administer those loans. When a community has depleted their funding, they apply to Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank for additional funds. Homeowners who apply for funding before additional funds are provided are placed on a wait list. 

Current Participating Communities
Bristol, Charlestown, Coventry, Glocester, Jamestown, Johnston, Narragansett, New Shoreham, North Kingstown, Portsmouth, Scituate, South Kingstown, Tiverton, Warren, Westerly

 Loan Terms 

  • No income limits for program participants 
  • Can be used for residential properties with up to 4 units
  • One-time $300 origination fee to Rhode Island Housing and a 1% service fee on the outstanding loan balance that is split between Rhode Island Housing and the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank for servicing the loan
  • Other program criteria vary somewhat from community to community. However, most programs cap loans at $25,000, require a debt-to-income ratio for borrowers of no more than 45%and allow non-owner occupants, as well as homeowners whose primary residence can benefit from CSSLP, to participate
  • Funding can generally cover engineering costs, as well as system replacement costs
  • Funding is released to the homeowner when Rhode Island Housing receives a Department of Environmental Management (DEM) Certificate of Conformance after the work is completed
  • Work must be completed by a state-licensed installer

Loan Activity  "as of February 2017"

  •  $13.0 million in loan funds provided to communities through the CSSLP since 1999
  •  670 loans closed
  •  Average loan amount: $15,108
  •  Monthly payment for a $15,000 loan with a 10-year term would be $131
      *Loans made to communities prior to the end of 2015 have a 2% interest rate     

Sewer Tie-In Loan Fund (STILF) Program  

The goal of this program is to safeguard public health, and protect and improve ground and surface water resources by ensuring that properties are tied into the public sewer system in participating communities.  

Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank makes loans of up to $150,000 to the sewer system owner. The system owner then directs the STILF funds to individual homeowners through Rhode Island Housing. Upon notification by the sewer system owner that the individual property owner qualifies for the local tie-in program, Rhode Island Housing will process the loan applications, cut checks to the vendors and process loan repayments. 

Current Participating Communities
Coventry, North Smithfield, Tiverton, Warwick 

 Loan Terms 

  • Maximum loan amount is $10,000, with a term of up to five years
  • Most other loan terms are the same as the CSSLP
  • Funding is released to the homeowner when Rhode Island Housing receives a DEM Certificate of Conformance after the work is completed
  • Cost to properly abandon the existing septic system (pumping out its contents and filling it with sand) is also STILF-eligible  

 Loan Activity  "as of February 2017"   

  •  41 loans closed for a total of $146,970
  •  Average loan amount: $3,585
  •  Monthly payment for a $4,000 loan with a 5-year term would be $68

Interested residents of the above-listed communities should contact their municipal offices for more information on the programs and their eligibility. Please contact your town or city directly to obtain applications, as each municipality has its own loan terms and program requirements.