Florida’s Land Application Ban Survives Objections

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Despite efforts by the onsite industry to delay or overturn it, a ban on land application of septage in Florida went into effect June 30. The law was passed by Legislature in 2010 and has survived many attempts to defeat it — the latest bills to repeal the law died in committees in both the Senate and House in March. Septage must now be disposed of at licensed treatment facilities, and pumpers must provide a letter to the Department of Health proving that such arrangements have been made. Industry experts have expressed concern that the ban will raise the cost of septic service.

New Jersey

More septic systems will be allowed under proposed changes in density standards for New Jersey’s Highlands region, which stretches 60 miles along the Atlantic Ocean and provides about 70 percent of the state’s drinking water. The current standard is one individual septic system for every 25 acres of non-forested areas and one for every 88 acres of forested land. The new standards will allow about 12 percent more septic systems based on new data from a scientific analysis of nitrate levels by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The new density standard establishes three zones:

  • Developed communities (32,896 acres) – one system per 11-acre lot
  • Agricultural and woodlands (54,555 acres) – one system per 12-acre lot
  • Lands important to water-quality protection (327,449 acres) – one septic system per 23 acres


Failure to repair a septic system has drawn a big fine from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality against a Coos Bay homeowner. The homeowner has been fined $4,553 for allowing untreated or partially treated sewage to be discharged onto the ground from a broken drainfield line. The agency also ordered the homeowner to apply for a major repair permit, repair the system, enter into a contract with a licensed plumber and have the septic tank pumped regularly until repairs have been completed.

A family in Eugene has been using an old septic system for 27 years thinking their home was connected to the city’s sewer system. They are now considering legal action against a former plumbing contractor who failed to complete the work all those years ago. The situation was discovered when sewage began backing up into their basement shower in April.


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