Maine Adopts New Onsite Rules

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New subsurface wastewater disposal rules for Maine include a 25-foot no-disturbance buffer from water bodies and fill extension limits that move onsite systems farther away. The rules also state that soil evaluators must use Munsell soil color charts and municipalities must bring malfunctioning onsite systems into compliance within 10 days of notice. If property owners do not propose a repair or replacement plan, they will be evicted until the systems are fixed.



The Summit County Council adopted a resolution to replace aging onsite systems with a sewer. The project will be funded through assessments. The final cost to property owners is estimated at $18,950, but officials said actual costs will not be known for more than a year. To move ahead, 85 percent of residents needed to approve the project.



The legislature adjourned without passing a bill that would have banned counties from imposing a sewer service fee on properties not connected to it. Several lawmakers said they will try to pass the bill again next session. Jefferson County has a $3.2 billion sewer debt and instigated the clean water fee.



Gov. Rick Perry signed legislation requiring childproof lids on septic tanks. Only homeowners or maintenance providers can open the lids.



If passed, a Senate bill would require the Department of Environmental Quality to establish grant and loan programs for owners of onsite systems. Another Senate bill in the public hearing stage would require sellers of real estate to obtain an onsite inspection report and provide copies to the DEQ and to buyers making written offers to purchase.


New Mexico

An amendment proposed by Bernalillo County Commissioner Wayne Johnson would remove the 2015 deadline to replace onsite systems installed before 2000. The upgrade is part of the Waste Water Requirements Ordinance.

If the date were removed, the county would still meet state mandates because it has some of the strictest septic system requirements in the state. Some residents considered the fines and up to 50 days in jail an acceptable alternative to replacing their functioning systems. The 2015 date was reportedly affecting home sales.


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