Onsite System Rules Face Upgrades in Idaho

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The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality is revising the Technical Guidance Manual for builders and septic system installers. The process started in spring with a public comment period. According to a department news release, the changes “address practices and policies of the Technical Guidance Committee, setbacks from drainfields to cutoff trenches, horizontal separation distances, permitting and design requirements for alternative public and private subsurface sewage disposal systems, and approval conditions and compost disposal requirements for composting toilet units.” The proposed revisions are available for download on the DEQ website: http://www.deq.idaho.gov/news-archives/2013/may/water-tgm-revisions-comment-050613.aspx.


After flooding in April, officials in Lake County waived and cut various fees temporarily. About 4,500 properties were damaged in the flooding. Fees for building permits were waived for repair and restoration work, including permits for interior alterations, electrical work, heating and air conditioning and water heaters. With many septic systems flooded, the county reduced the rate for disposal of septage at the Lake County Public Works Mill Creek Water Reclamation Facility. Haulers were given reduced disposal rates from May 14 to June 1 and agreed to pass the savings on to customers. The normal fee of up to $40 per 1,000 gallons was cut to $7.

New Hampshire

The state Senate passed SB 11, giving newly created water districts the authority to tax private wells and onsite systems of property owners within proposed water/sewer utility districts. The bill resulted from the town of Stratham, which has no public water or sewer, seeking an inter-municipal agreement with the Town of Exeter to help attract businesses to the Route 108 corridor and to help offset tax burdens for property taxpayers.

North Carolina

A ruling by the North Carolina Division of Coastal Management allows Nags Head property owners to replace onsite systems lost to storms provided they are 50 feet from the water at low tide. It also classifies the system as part of the house, which can be rebuilt if it has not lost 50 percent or more of its value to storm damage. Coastal Management is a division of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.


The Upper Delaware Council and representatives from Pennsylvania’s Wayne and Pike Counties believe the nitrate-restricting policy proposed by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection would make land adjacent to watersheds unusable for most purposes. The policy establishes setbacks for onsite systems at 150 feet from water and 30 feet from streams with exceptional value and high-quality waters. It also would require a system barrier preventing effluent from traveling underground. Water quality monitoring studies by three agencies prove current measures to protect the water quality in the river basin are successful, according to the Council.

Rhode Island

A compromise bill (Senate 672 Substitute A) would create a stakeholders group to study how best to promote economic development while protecting the environment. The group must make recommendations by Jan. 31, 2015. The bill was introduced to counteract proposed legislation that would prevent cities and towns from becoming tougher on construction-related wetland and onsite system issues.


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