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Financial Incentives

Plugging abandoned wells in Iowa

The goal of Iowa's Groundwater Protection Act was to prevent further contamination of groundwater.  Abandoned wells offer a direct pathway for contaminants to enter a groundwater aquifer.  Some large diameter wells can also be a safety hazard to small children who can fall into well casings.

Any well that is no longer in use, or is in such poor physical condition that it cannot be repaired to be safely used, must be plugging.  This applies to all wells, including public drinking water wells, monitoring wells, commercial wells, private wells and irrigation wells.

Abandoned wells can either be plugged, renovated, or repaired to standby condition.  A well in standby condition has been repaired and capped to prevent contamination, but remains operational when the cap is removed.  Each option meets the goal of protecting groundwater from contamination and people from physical harm.

Financial assistance is available at the county level through a grants to the counties programs sponsored by DNR.  Counties will reimburse property owners up to $500 for each well plugged, up to $500 for well assessment, up to $300 for cisterns, up to $300 for shock chlorination, and up to $1,000 for each well renovated.

Iowa's Onsite Waste-water Loan Program Clean Water Starts in Your Own Backyard.

A low-interest loan program to update outdated septic systems.

Where does a homeowner go for assistance? To participate in the loan program, a homeowner needs to:

  1. Contact the county sanitarian or county environmental health agency for an  OSWAP onsite system permit application.
  2. Obtain bids from septic contractors for the approved onsite system.
  3. Apply for a loan through a participating lender, showing evidence of county approval and contractor bids for the project.
  4. USDA provided low-income families who own single-family homes that need repairs or improvements.  Grants are available for essential repairs made to qualified applicants to include plumbing and sewer systems.  More information on this program is available at 641-648-5181.

Why Upgrade a Septic System

Some counties in Iowa and several lenders now require an inspection of a household septic system at the time of sale or property transfer to verify compliance with waste water treatment standards.  Homeowners may want to take advantage of this loan program to avoid potential problems in the future.

What Else Should I Know?

The Onsite Waste water Assistance fund (OSWAF) is a revolving loan fund established from State of Iowa matching funds and federal EPA Clean Water Act funds.

Contact Information:
Taylor Hillman
Worth County Sanitarian
[email protected]  


Any new construction and repairs or updates for septic systems require a permit.

  • Septic Permits $200.00

All new wells require a permit.

  • Well Permits $75.00

Water testing in your home is free.  Call to schedule a water sample to be taken.

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