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Winter 2009

No Time to Waste

The State Water Resource Control Board (SWRCB) refers to them as Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems, but we all know them as septic tanks. Whatever you choose to call them the state has a list of new regulations that are going to affect millions of Californians. The new regulation is to help ensure that public health and beneficial uses of the state’s waters are protected from potential leaking of septic tanks.

The proposed regulation was prompted by Assembly Bill 885 (Jackson), which was signed by Governor Gray Davis in 2000. The law requires persons that discharge waste that may threaten waters of the state file a report with the regional water board. Regional water boards may waive the reporting requirement if property owners meet certain provisions.

An estimated 1.3 million owners of household septic tanks will have to have their tanks inspected for solid accumulations every 5 years, at an estimated cost if $325 per household unit. If the septic tank does not meet the regulation and needs to be retrofitted it can cost the property owner an estimated $45,000 to comply with the regulation. The regulations are even steeper the closer your property is located to a body of water.

For the past few months, the SWRCB has been holding public workshops on the proposed regulation. The final public hearing will be held on February 9 at 1:30pm at the Byron Sher Auditorium, Cal EPA Building, 1101 I Street, Sacramento. ■

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