Rules and Regs: South Carolina County Ready to Limit Onsite Development

Also in this month’s update, the U.S. Senate increases funding for the Rural Decentralized Water Systems Program

Rules and Regs: South Carolina County Ready to Limit Onsite Development

Greenville County, South Carolina, is close to placing restrictions on development using onsite systems. County government officials are motivated by a surge of development and the accompanying concern that existing infrastructure cannot accommodate such growth. 

From 2010 to 2022, the county’s population increased 21%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Between April 2020 and July 2022, growth was 4.3%.  

At its Nov. 7 meeting, the County Council approved the second reading of an ordinance that would limit homes with onsite systems to one home for every 1.5 acres. This would apply only to developments with 10 or more lots, according to the Post and Courier of Greenville. The proposed rules would also require a 100-foot buffer between a stream and any large development using onsite systems.

County planning staff say they are receiving a growing number of requests from developers who want to use onsite systems for subdivisions of more than 200 homes. 

“Building 200- to 300-house subdivisions where you’re using a half to three-quarters of an acre per house was not an efficient use of the limited land we have left,” said Councilman Ennis Fant, chair of the planning and development committee, according to the
Post and Courier

A large number of people appeared at the Nov. 7 meeting to comment on the proposal, reported the Greenville Journal. Several people representing real estate companies and developers said they were concerned the rules would place too many restrictions on
new projects. 

The council approved an amendment that would require the council to reauthorize the rule after two years. Council members are scheduled to vote on the rule package at its third and final reading at the council’s Dec. 5 meeting. 

Senate increases funding for Rural Decentralized Water Systems Program

The U.S. Senate adopted an amendment in October that would increase funding for the Rural Decentralized Water Systems Program. 

The program provides grants and loans to people in rural areas to install or repair onsite wastewater systems, according to a press release from the office of Cory Booker, D-N.J. Booker sponsored the amendment with Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala. 

Funding for the program would increase from $5 million to $20 million for fiscal year 2024. At least $10 million would be paid to low-income households as grants for onsite systems.

The amendment became part of the three “minibus” appropriations bills passed by the chamber on Nov. 1. 

H2Ozarks receives grant to help repair or replace failing systems

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources awarded a $2.6 million grant to the nonprofit H2Ozarks. It will use the money to help people repair or replace failing onsite systems in some watersheds around Lake of the Ozarks, Harry S. Truman Lake, Pomme de Terre Lake, Lake Niangua and Table Rock Lake. 

All of the money is passing through the state from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, according to a press release from H2Ozarks. 

The organization is also administering two other onsite remediation grants: in Arkansas a $1 million grant for the Upper White and Buffalo river watersheds, funded by the natural resources division of the Arkansas Department of Agriculture; and in Missouri a $130,000 grant funded by Greene County.

Missoula WWTP reduces amount of septage it will accept 

Pumpers in the Bitterroot Valley of Ravalli County, Montana, are searching for locations to dump septage now that the Missoula Wastewater Treatment Plant has reduced the amount of septage it accepts. 

At the end of last year, area pumpers were told the plant would cut out-of-county loads by 60%, reported the Bitterroot Star of Stevensville. Although Missoula takes septage from six other nearby counties, Ravalli County sends the most. Last year pumpers there took more than 1.4 million gallons of septage to Missoula. Now outside septage is capped at 60,000 gallons per month. At least one company in the valley is hauling septage the 143
miles to Helena. 

Conrad and Tonya Eckert, of Eckert’s Patriot Pumpers, said they have spent years warning officials about the consequences of not planning for increased septage volume generated by a growing number of homes. “We couldn’t get anyone to understand what was coming,” Conrad Eckert told the Bitterroot Star, “but now it has hit us.”

Canadian city’s treatment plant limits wastewater it will accept from pumpers

Pumpers in the Fraser Valley southeast of Vancouver, British Columbia, are concerned because several wastewater treatment plants in the area have reached capacity. 

During the last two years, septage received by the city of Chilliwack has increased more than 40%. The Abbotsford treatment plant stopped accepting septage from outside sources in 2021, reported Global News

James Stiksma, owner of Canadian Septic and a board member of the Western Canadian On-Site Wastewater Management Association of B.C., was quoted as saying Chilliwack now requires pumpers to file a form declaring where a load has come from. Chilliwack accepts wastewater only from within its city limits. 

New York county grant to help repair failing systems

People in Cattaragus County, New York, with failing onsite systems may be eligible for part of a $400,000 community development block grant awarded to the county Health Department. 

Funding is first come, first served, and people must apply through the department’s grant partner Connecting Communities in Action. To be eligible, people must have an owner-occupied single-family dwelling and meet income limits. Those range from $45,500 for a single person in the home to $85,750 for a home with eight people. 

Massachusetts town considers banning cesspools

The Falmouth (Massachusetts) Board of Health is considering a change in its onsite rules that would ban cesspools. Under the proposed rules, any cesspool found during a wastewater inspection would be automatically considered to have failed. 

The proposed regulations would also increase required distance to groundwater. Advanced treatment units would not be eligible for a reduced separation distance if more than 25% of the property is within 300 feet of a marine resource. And system designs would be required to show where an advanced treatment unit could be located on a property if such technology is mandated in the future. 

North Carolina county partnership provides grants for onsite system repair

Homeowners in Haywood County, North Carolina, may receive grants to help them repair or replace failing onsite systems. Grants pay 75% of total repair costs, reported the Smoky Mountain News. Eligibility will be determined by the severity of the failure, financial need and proximity to a waterway. 

The program is a partnership of the county Health Department and the Haywood Waterways Association and is paid for by the state Department of Environmental Quality and the Pigeon River Fund of the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina.

Wisconsin counties to distribute grant funds for failing systems

Applications for money to help people with failing onsite systems in Wisconsin are now open and will close on Jan. 31, 2024.

Because of a lapse in funding, the Department of Safety and Professional Services will be distributing two years’ worth of grants in 2024, a total of $1.7 million

Of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, 67 participate in the Wisconsin Fund program, along with the city of Franklin and the Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin, reported the website Wispolitics. Eligibility for money depends on criteria including household income and the age of the failed system. 

People interested in applying should contact their county or tribal government
for more information. 

Priority area of DeLeon Springs can receive grants to upgrade onsite systems

Residents of DeLeon Springs, Florida, must upgrade their onsite systems and now may draw on grants to help offset the cost. 

A total of $2.2 million, distributed by Volusia County, will be divided into $10,000 rebates for people updating their systems, reported the West Volusia Beacon. Money is payable to a licensed onsite contractor and is available only in the priority focus area of DeLeon Springs.  

Homeowners in certain Virginia watershed areas eligible for grants to reimburse septic care expenses

Homeowners in parts of Orange, Madison, Rappahannock and Culpeper counties are eligible for grants to reimburse 50% to 80% of the cost of pumping, inspecting, repairing or replacing onsite systems. How much people may receive depends on what a system needs and on income, reported the Culpeper Star-Exponent. Grants are available in sections of the watersheds of the Rush, White Walnut Run, Blue Run, Robinson and Upper York rivers.


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