Rules and Regs: New Rules in Rhode Island Will Require Cesspool Removal

In this month's regulations update, Minnesota gives onsite professionals a grace period for continuing education requirements, and Rhode Island will require cesspool replacement after the sale of property.
Rules and Regs: New Rules in Rhode Island Will Require Cesspool Removal

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Removing existing cesspools from service after a property is sold is among the changes to onsite wastewater rules to be considered in Rhode Island in 2016. The Department of Environmental Management says the technical changes and clarifications are primarily due to legislative actions taken in 2015 dealing with onsite wastewater, including the Cesspool Act, according to the December public notice announcing the proposed amendments to the “Rules Establishing Minimum Standards Relating to Location, Design, Construction and Maintenance of Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems.”

New cesspools have been banned in Rhode Island since 1968, but there are still about 25,000 in operation. The proposed rule, which is consistent with the Cesspool Act that was signed into law in July 2015, requires cesspools to be disconnected and replaced with a modern septic system or connection to a sewer system within 12 months of the sale of the property. It is expected to result in about 400 cesspools being taken out of service every year.

Missouri coalition demanding nutrient level standards
The Missouri Coalition for the Environment may file suit soon to force the creation of standards for nitrogen and phosphorus levels in state lakes and reservoirs. The U.S. EPA rejected the state’s proposed standards four years ago. While the Missouri Department of Natural Resources published draft recommendations last fall, it has yet to approve anything. Based on a Notice of Intent filed with the U.S. EPA in November, the coalition will allege that the federal agency failed to force regulators to establish nutrient levels in a reasonable amount of time. The coalition can file suit 60 days after issuing the Notice of Intent. 

Minnesota gives onsite professionals grace period for continuing education requirements
Onsite professionals in Minnesota who failed to meet their continuing education requirements in 2015 have received a reprieve from the state Pollution Control Agency. Legislative action aimed at simplifying regulations and administration of rules required the agency to establish a one-year extension of certification for those who failed to meet the requirements. During the “conditional certification” period, the person must complete the missed continuing education and pass one or two certification exams that apply to the onsite wastewater work in which they do business. 

New onsite regulations in Nova Scotia
The provincial government of Nova Scotia has approved new onsite wastewater regulations along with a new standards document that replaces the existing Technical Guidelines. The new regulations take effect on May 1, 2016. The program changes are being explained to onsite professionals through regional meetings of Waste Water Nova Scotia in January and February. 


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