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Loans available for new ISTS systems

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture offers the Agriculture Best Management Practice (AgBMP), a low-interest financing loan for residences with failing or nonconforming individual septic treatment systems (ISTS).

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture offers the Agriculture Best Management Practice (AgBMP), a low-interest financing loan for residences with failing or nonconforming individual septic treatment systems (ISTS).

The Hubbard County Environmental Services Office (ESO) handles county loan guidelines and processing.

ESO administrator Eric Buitenwerf described the application process.

To qualify, applicants must provide evidence of a failing system or produce a certificate of noncompliance, Buitenwerf said.

Once a contractor draws up a plan for a new septic system, including an estimate of cost, ESO completes a one-page application form and signs off as to legitimate need.

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According to Buitenwerf, prospective borrowers may then go to Citizens National Bank or the State Bank of Park Rapids to acquire the loan.

Qualified applicants may borrow up to $50,000 for up to 10 years at a maximum 3 percent interest rate.

Reduced interest rates can save homeowners a considerable amount of money in loan payments. According to the Department of Agriculture Web site, an AgBMP $5,000 loan amortized over 10 years can save a household almost $1,000 interest from that on a 9 percent loan.

To verify proper use of the loan, households must bring the application back to ESO. ESO will verify the proper ISTS installation, said Buitenwerf.

"It's not a terribly difficult process and it certainly helps people who lack the finances to update a system," Buitenwerf said.

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