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Senate and House Bills that repeal SB550 statewide mandated inspections are moving into committees. Finally, we have some common sense inspection legislation we can live with. See the details of those bills and what you can do today to help get this issue resolved!

HB 999 & SB 820

For years, legislators, citizens, environmentalists, and industry groups have wrestled with the issue of septic systems and inspections. Finally a win-win solution is on the horizon. Contained in these two bills is legislative language that paves the way for two major goals to be accomplished: (1) homeowner property protections, (2) and clean water protections.

As always, for legislation to be passed into statute (law), the House bill and the Senate bill have to match. Yesterday, January 6, the Sen. Charlie Dean introduced an amendment to his Senate Bill 820 that accomplished the required “match”. With a few minor tweaks, Sen. Dean’s bill SB820 now matches and Rep. Chris Dorworth’s HB 999. (1) Both bills repeal the septic system inspection mandate put in place by SB550. (2) Both bills create a new inspection program administered by local governments. (3) Both bills set the rules that govern how inspections will be conducted. And, finally, (4) both bills protect homeowners property rights.

SB 820 and HB 999 contain the following guidelines that govern septic system inspections:

1. Counties and cities without First Magnitude Springs may choose to participate in an inspection program. They may choose to conduct inspections in all or part of their jurisdiction. Inspections must follow the inspection guidelines in the bill.
2. Counties with First Magnitude Springs must participate in the inspection program, but with a majority vote of local officials, they can choose not to participate. Inspections must follow the inspection guidelines in the bill.
3. Inspection Guidelines:
a. Pump out the tank, inspect for tank integrity, and visually inspect drainfield.
b. Inspections are conducted every five years.
c. Provide homeowner with certification of inspection.
d. Homeowner may not be required to replace a conventional system with another type of system in order to repair a failing tank or drainfield.
e. Permit to own and operate the septic system, and inspection certification passes to new homeowner with title transfer.
f. Point of sale inspections may not be mandated.
g. Homes being remodeled do not have to install larger septic systems unless a bedroom is added to the home.
The entire text of both bills can be reviewed on-line:

SB 820 (amended)

HB 999


1. E-Mail your support to the members of the Senator Dean’s Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee. Do this immediately. The committee meets Monday, January 9 at 10:00 a.m. (Follow the e-mail format Please be respectful and encourage passage of the amended SB820.