Salem, Ore. -- Oregon residents who lost access to water and sewer service through their private wells and septic systems due to the September wildfires could be considered for financial assistance under FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program.
Residents in Clackamas, Douglas, Jackson, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn and Marion counties designated for federal assistance to individuals and households due to 2020 wildfires may be eligible for a FEMA award for household repairs not usually covered by insurance. This includes repair or replacement of septic systems and wells damaged by wildfires.
Settlement of a homeowner’s insurance policy is the primary source of money to pay for home repairs following a major disaster. FEMA assistance cannot duplicate insurance coverage. However, households that don’t have insurance or have received an insurance settlement less than the cost to repair serious damage may apply to FEMA for help with costs that are necessary to have a functioning home, including for repair or replacement of private wells and/or septic systems.
Steps to take to be considered for assistance with your private well and/or septic system:
Apply with FEMA: online at DisasterAssistance.gov; through the FEMA App; or by phone at 800-621-3362 (TTY: 800-462-7585) from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. PST daily. Be sure to report any damages to your well as a result of the disaster. Those who use a Relay service such as a videophone, InnoCaption or CapTel should update FEMA with their assigned number for that service. They should be aware phone calls from FEMA may come from an unidentified number.
If you have applied with FEMA and have not had a home inspection, you should let the FEMA inspector know you have a private well and/or septic system. If you have applied with FEMA and are insured, you should contact the helpline and let them know that you have well/septic damage so that an inspection can be issued. If you have already had an inspection and your well or septic system wasn’t reported, you may send FEMA a dated and signed letter, along with a contractor’s estimate, indicating you are appealing for the well/septic system.
In situations where you received FEMA assistance for your private well/septic system, but additional help for these costs is needed, you may submit an appeal:
You should provide to FEMA a verifiable estimate/receipt indicating the well/septic system was physically damaged, collapsed, and/or is no longer functioning as a direct result of the disaster. You will need to include a dated and signed letter, along with the contractor’s estimate, indicating you are appealing for the well/septic system.
If the submitted estimates/receipts do not specifically include this information, FEMA will call the contractor to confirm the information.
You may always contact the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 (TTY: 800-462-7585) if you have any questions about your disaster assistance options.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585). Those who use a Relay service such as a videophone, InnoCaption or CapTel should update FEMA with their assigned number for that service. They should be aware phone calls from FEMA may come from an unidentified number. Multilingual operators are available. (Press 2 for Spanish)
Disaster survivors affected by the Oregon wildfires and straight-line winds can also get personalized mitigation advice to repair and rebuild safer and stronger from a FEMA Mitigation Specialist. For information on how to rebuild safer and stronger or to inquire as to your new flood risk following a fire near you, email FEMA-R10-MIT@fema.dhs.gov, a FEMA Hazard Mitigation specialist will respond survivor inquiries.
FEMA's mission is helping people before, during, and after disasters.