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Council Repeals Septic-System Inspection Program

City to abide by inspection standards being developed at the state level. Council's action takes pressure off some homeowners hit with costly repair bills.

The voted unanimously Wednesday to repeal its septic-system inspection ordinance and came up with a new way for residents who were cited under that ordinance to come into compliance.

In the past few weeks, council members in doing away with the city's septic inspection program in favor of inspection protocol that's being developed at the state level.

The city's ordinance, adopted in 2009, mandated that all 138 septic systems be inspected to find ones that were failing and leaking into local creeks and streams.

New language that's being written by the State Water Resources Control Board, which is expected to be adopted by the state in June, says that inspections would only be required of people who live 100 feet from bodies of water that are impaired with pathogens or 600 feet from bodies of water that are impaired of nutrients.

The city inspections left some homeowners with septic repair bills in the thousands of dollars and disgruntled, especially those residents whose septic systems were rated as failures though were not leaking into streams or groundwater.

"I'm really sorry to the community for everything that was done and all the ill will that was created," said Mayor James Bozajian, who has opposed the septic ordinance since it was authored.

With the ordinance repealed, there will be no more septic-system inspections until the state adopts its own language.

But City Attorney Michael Colantuono said state law requires the city to enforce its ordinance for those homes cited for having systems that are leaking into local streams and groundwater.

There are 31 homeowners who still have a notice of violation doled out by the city under the old ordinance, but City Manager Tony Coroalles said that city staff would re-evaluate their septic systems to see which are actually contaminating local bodies of water.

"We do not expect many properties to fit into this category," he said.

Those who do having leaking systems would still be required to repair their systems and provide documentation to the city from a licensed professional that their system is working properly, Coroalles said.

Residents whose systems are failing and only polluting their own property would be exempt from taking such a step, he said.

Arin Mikailian (Editor) January 27, 2012 at 12:06 AM
What do you think about the council's decision?

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