Rules and Regs - May 2022

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Auburn, Maine, city officials are considering a new onsite design standard to allow development while keeping nutrients out of Lake Auburn, which is the city’s source of drinking water. If the proposed standard were used, it would allow for new systems and new homes while achieving a net improvement to the lake, city officials told the Sun Journal of Lewiston, Maine. 

Impetus for the proposed standard came from a study by FB Environmental, the Horsley Witten Group and the University of Maine. The city commissioned them to study rules governing the lake’s watershed. 

Current standards effectively prohibit the use of innovative and alternative treatment technologies, the group wrote in its report. More than 100 new homes could be built in the watershed if the onsite rules are revised, the group wrote. 

Eric Cousens, the city’s director of planning and permitting, said the goal is to use the new standard for both new construction and replacement of old onsite systems.


The Tisbury board of health set new denitrification rules for the Lake Tashmoo and Lagoon Pond watersheds. The area covers much of the town on the north side of Martha’s Vineyard. 

Rules require onsite technology that meets a nitrogen groundwater discharge standard of no more than 13 mg/L from septage or removes 75% of septic nitrogen waste, reported The Martha’s Vineyard Times.

The regulation applies to new construction, an onsite system replacement, a change in property use that would increase nitrogen discharge beyond the board-approved system capacity, and if there is a determination by the board that a new system is required when a property is transferred.


For an eighth year, the Taney County Septic Tank Pump Out Program will be open for 2022. 

The program covers all costs for pumping out a septic tank on a residential property every four years. Homeowners are responsible for locating the tank and exposing the access for pumpers. 

Since 2014, the program has pumped 3,443 tanks, reported the Branson Tri-Lakes News of Hollister, Missouri. Money comes from the county’s sewer sales tax. 

New York

Rensselaer County is making grants of up to $10,000 available for onsite upgrades around Nassau Lake. The county announced in late January that homes on both sides of the lake, in Schodack and Nassau, are eligible for grants. 

The state Department of Environmental Conservation and Environmental Facilities Corp. gave the county one grant of $170,000. Homeowners are eligible for up to 50% of qualified upgrades, with a maximum payment of $10,000 per project. Funds may be used only for the replacement of septic systems or cesspools, reported The Times Union of Albany, New York. 

A second grant of $218,000 for the work comes from the Housing Trust Fund Corporation and Office of Community Renewal.

County officials said the program will help maintain the quality of the lake, which will support property values and make the area attractive to prospective residents. 


So many people want to be in Montana that Flathead County is looking into a new facility to take care of their septage waste. The county commission has approved a $700,000 design contract for a regional septage treatment and biosolids project. Biosolids composting would serve the regional septage plant and the cities of Kalispell, Whitefish and Columbia Falls, reported the Daily Inter Lake of Kalispell

From 2010 to 2020, the county population increased 15%, to 104,357. Flathead County Health Officer Joe Russell told the news organization, “We could get to the point where there’s no way to get rid of septage.” He added that private septage haulers are being squeezed out as development consumes land where septage can be spread.  


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