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It’s in the DOH rule!!! The tests mandated in the inspection rule are essentially a “RECALL” of existing, permitted septic systems. Total cost to residents in 2011, $30 Million Dollars. Low Income Grant to pay for inspection costs and system replacement not available until 2012, but the income guidelines are posted here. See if you are eligible. Also in this issue: Five more Florida Counties pass resolutions protesting septic inspection costs and the economic burden on Florida citizens. Check the Calendar Section for important meetings coming up.


Support those candidates who support you! Click here to see their statements. North Florida resident published in the Opinion column of the Santa Rosa Press Gazette. It’s a great read! Thanks, Sharon. More new letters from our readers are published.


In February, 2010, the Dept. of Health, Bureau of On-Site Sewage issued the following report, “INTERIM STUDY AND REPORT ON THE FLORIDA ONSITE SEWAGE NITROGEN REDUCTION STRATEGIES.” On page 4 of that study the following statement is made:

“Florida has been a leader in the field of onsite wastewater treatment and disposal system (OSTDS) practices. Conventionally, OSTDS consist of a septic tank and a drainfield. Onsite system construction and use standards in the State date from 1921. A major revision occurred in 1984 from which time onward all drainfields in new onsite system construction had to be installed to provide two feet of separation from groundwater. “

$30 million dollars. This is the amount of money 100,000 septic owners will pay out-of-pocket in 2011 for groundwater separation testing if the DOH proposed rule goes into effect in January. At the 9/23 TRAP meeting in Orlando, Mr. Gerald Briggs, DOH Bureau of On-Site Sewage Chief, said they only had records dating back to 1993, and so the first 100,000 inspections will begin with those systems installed between 1993 and 2005. The inspection rule says all systems will be tested to see if there is 24 inches between the bottom of the drain field and the high water table.

Every one of those 100,000 systems DOH will evaluate and test in 2011 was installed after 1984, when the code mandated the 24” ground water separation.


If the code in 1984 called for a 24” separation standard, why do homeowners have to pay $300 for a soil/water table separation test?

Is it to make sure that DOH inspections and permitting were done correctly in the first place?

Is it because not all contractors follow the rules?

Is it because the grant program for low income septic owners needs funding and this is a way to get money?

Is it the financial responsibility of the homeowner to prove that their septic system was installed according to code?


What happens when GM, Ford, Honda, etc. are faced with the possibility that one of their cars does not meet mechanical or safety standards? They recall all of the affected models. They inspect and fix the problem – AT THEIR EXPENSE. The automobile owner is not expected to pay for the inspection or the fix.

This is no different. We maintain that if the Dept of Health wants to test to make sure the 1984 code was actually followed, it’s a recall and DOH should pay for it. The purchaser of an automobile has a reasonable expectation his car meets safety standards. The homeowner has a reasonable expectation his septic system has been installed, inspected, and permitted in compliance to the existing code.

Accordingly, if proper installation, inspection and permitting was done, no septic system installed or replaced after 1984 should ever have to be tested for soil separation between the bottom of the drainfield and the high water table. And, no homeowner should have to pay for it!

2.5 million soil tests times $300 = $750 million. This is amount of money those in DOH who wrote this proposed rule expect septic owners to pay over five years to soil test each and every septic system, just to make sure those in charge did their job right the first time. $500 per day is the homeowner fine for refusing to prove the DOH and the contractors did their job right the first time. $4,000 is the homeowner cost to replace a still functional drainfield that was installed, inspected and permitted incorrectly. Bureaucratic mismanagement– priceless.

Guidelines for Grants to Assist in the Inspection or Replacement of a Septic System

Senate Bill 550 says grants will be available to help low income residents manage the costs. The Bureau of On-site Sewage has provided guidelines so you can determine if you will be eligible for assistance paying for the inspection costs or repairs. There is no information on whether there is a maximum dollar limit for each grant. The grants will not be available until 2012, as there is no funding available at this time. DOH is depending on fees collected to fund the grant program.


From the Federal Poverty Level (SB 550 workshop inquiry)
October 19, 2010 provided this information to us.

During the workshop yesterday, I was asked what the income level was at 133% of Federal Poverty Level. The Federal Department of Health and Human Services generates the poverty level information:
133% Federal Poverty Level (2010)

Number in Household
 Annual Household Gross Income
1 $14,404
2 $19,378
3 $24,352
4 $29,327
5 $34,301
6 $39,275
7 $44,249
8 $49,223

The List of Counties Passing Resolutions Opposing SB550 Statewide Septic System Rules is Growing

Recent counties are Bay, Escambia, Franklin, Gilchrist and Gulf who are joining Calhoun, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty, Orange, Santa Rosa, Walton and Washington.

Great Article from Sharon Glass

Thank you to Sharon Glass, a North Florida resident who has submitted an opinion column to us. The original article appeared in the Santa Rosa Press Gazette. Sharon attended the Dept. of Health public meeting in DeFuniak Springs and brings home the message that consequences, intended or otherwise, fall on real people. Click here to read Sharon’s Article.