\r\nNearly $80,000 has been made available to assist local homeowners upgrade and repair their septic systems. The purpose of the program is to reduce the level of fecal coliform bacteria in the Knapps Creek watershed. \r\n\r\nThe Knapps Creek Septic Program is voluntary and will pay up to 75 percent of the cost for repair or replacement of septic systems, up to $5,000. Also, the program will pay 50 percent of the cost, up to $125, for pumping out of septic systems. \r\n\r\nApplications are available at the Pocahontas County Health Department in the lower level of the courthouse. Applications will be accepted starting March 2. \r\n\r\nThe Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has listed Knapps Creek as a stream impaired by fecal coliform bacteria. Failing septic systems have been identified as a non-point source of the contamination. The EPA recommends that homeowners have their septic tanks inspected and pumped out every three to five years by a licensed septic tank contractor. \r\n\r\nA1 Pumping, in Durbin, and The Outhouse, LLC, in Green Bank, are two local licensed septic contractors. \r\n\r\nIn a February 12 press release, West Virginia Conservation Agency specialist Dennis Burns said the program will help to eliminate failing septic systems. \r\n\r\n\u201cMonitoring data has shown us that Knapps Creek is an impaired stream,\u201d said Burns. \u201cThe major pollutant in Knapps Creek is fecal coliform bacteria and one of the major contributing factors is failing septic systems in the watershed. The Knapps Creek Watershed Program is designed to assist landowners in the watershed in repairing, replacing, or pumping their failing septic systems.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe septic upgrade project is a joint effort of the Greenbrier Valley Conservation District, Pocahontas County Health Department, Pocahontas County Water Resources Task Force, West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, West Virginia Conservation Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service. \r\n\r\nFor more information, contact the Water Resources Task Force at 304-653-4845.