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Senate Bill 550 signed by the Governor. This issue details the provisions contained in SB 550’s septic system inspection program. Also, we received notification that on 5/28/10 the Phase II Study funding was approved!

PROVISIONS OF SENATE BILL 550 – Information for all septic system owners.

The Department of Health (DOH) is directed to administer the septic system inspection program for all homeowners across the entire state. The inspections are limited to assessing the “fundamental operating condition of a system and identify failures.” Language about nutrient pollution was removed from SB550 and so no conventional septic system can be judged as failing based on measures of nitrogen.

  • Beginning January 1, 2011, the DOH shall begin an every five-year evaluation of septic systems with full implementation of program by 2016. The DOH shall set out requirements for pump out or repair and will be able to enforce provisions of the program.
  • Guidelines for Separation from High Water Table are stated:
    • Systems installed before 1983 and judged operational must meet a 6” separation between the bottom of the drainfield and the seasonal high water table.
    • Systems installed before 1983 and judged in need of repair must meet a 12” separation between the bottom of the drainfield and the seasonal high water table.
    • Systems installed after 1983 and judged operational must meet a 12” in separation between the bottom of the drainfield and the seasonal high water table.
    • Systems installed after 1983 and judged in need of repair must meet a 24” separation between the bottom of the drainfield and the seasonal high water table.
  • The above guidelines may mean that in order to replace a drainfield or affect a modification or repair, a homeowner may have to build a mound to achieve the required separation. If you have questions on these provisions, please contact a trusted and licensed septic system company.
  • Keep documentation on any pump out or repair you have had done by a licensed septic system company. If you have had a pump out or repair within the previous five years, and the company has stated the tank capacity and condition, the DOH will not require an additional pump out until the next five year cycle.
  • Homeowner pays for pump out and repair. Maximum inspection fee that can be charged and collected by the DOH is $30. If repairs are needed, homeowner is subject to a re-inspection fee of up to $100. It is unclear yet whether the septic system companies will charge a separate fee for conducting an evaluation. We will provide more information later.
  • PBTS (Performance Based Treatment System) owners pay much more. Maximum fees are $150. PBTS is also subject to annual operating permit and lab analysis fees of up to $300.
  • 60 Day Notification Required. DOH must notify the homeowner 60 days in advance of the inspection due date.
  • January 2012 is the implementation date for the Low Income Grant Program. This will assist homeowners whose income is 133% of federal poverty level to make required repairs.
  • Land application of septage is prohibited after 2016. Why should you care? The cost of your pump out will probably increase as septic companies may be paying much more to get rid of the contents of their pump trucks. Someone may want to tell Wekiva State Park about this since they still have a septic system inside the park and their own spray field. This issue will be the subject of its own study. A report how to accomplish or phase in this provision is to be developed, including the range of costs to local governments, businesses and individuals, is due on the desks of the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House by 2/11.
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