The State Water Resources Control Board has scheduled a public meeting in Bishop next week to discuss potential new regulations on septic tanks.
While the idea behind these yet to be finalized regulations is to prevent the sewage in septic tanks from polluting groundwater and rivers, homeowners on septic systems could find themselves with a new bill to pay.
State Water officials say that if a septic tank does affect local water, the owner will have to file a report with the local water resources board. Homeowners can get a waiver if they hire a qualified service provider, to inspect the tank and show that there is no problem. The state estimates the cost of the inspection, which would have to be done every five years at $325.
Like many people in the Eastern Sierra, if the homeowner has a septic system and a well, the new rules would require the well to be inspected every five years to check for septic contamination. State officials estimate this cost to be an additional $325.
If these regulations do go into effect, there would be additional requirements on newly installed septic systems as well.
The new regulations would apply statewide, whether there is a local pollution problem or not.
Many homeowners will not be happy to take on a new expense. County Environmental Health Directors across the state also have problems with the proposed regulations. According to Inyo County Environmental Health Director Marvin Moscowitz, the state organization for environmental health directors is pushing for changes to these regulations which are not seen as necessary. Moscowitz says, the system we have now works, why change it?
This public workshop on new septic tank regulations is scheduled to be held at the Tri County Fairgrounds in Bishop on Tuesday, January 13 at 7:00 pm.