SESSION AGENDA REQUEST
Raymond E. Graham, Cedar Run District
May 19, 2003
Charles Shepherd, District Manager
County Health Department
Proposed Sewage System Maintenance and Monitoring Ordinance,
work session will cover a proposed amendment to the Fauquier
County Code Chapter 17, focusing on sewage system maintenance and
monitoring for both new conventional and alternative systems.
Work Session Summary:
many years, the Board of Supervisors has expressed interest in
requiring some type of maintenance program for individual septic
systems. In the past, there have been discussions about initiating
a program that would require maintenance and pump out of septic
tanks on a regular basis for both new conventional and alternative
systems. As a result, this proposal was initiated at the Planning
Commission and staff level and will aid in obtaining that goal.
This proposal becomes more important as
has initiated work on the overall
management of the quality and quantity of its water resources.
Due to the Virginia Department of
Health’s adoption of its 2000 regulations, there are a number of
alternative wastewater systems, which are now allowed statewide.
It is critical that these systems have perpetual routine
maintenance. The performance of the alternative and conventional
systems is dependent on how they are monitored and maintained. The
complexity and degree of maintenance required on different
technologies will have to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
is currently no State Regulation or Local Ordinance that requires
mandatory maintenance and monitoring of the alternative systems.
According to Health Department records, there are approximately 60
residential alternative systems that are being used throughout
With the recent increase of the number of acceptable
alternative systems for installation in
, the proposed ordinance would
allow the County to ensure the proper performance of future
on-site residential wastewater systems.
Proposed Ordinance Objectives:
The proposed ordinance enclosed is for
on-site wastewater treatment systems that are regulated by the
, Handling, and Disposal Regulations.
Its intent is to protect the environment, the citizens of
, inform the public of the long-term effect and cost of an
alternative system, and protect the County from dealing with
premature failures which may result in the untimely and expensive
extension of public utilities.
Implementation of this program will also
positively affect several other strategic Board of Supervisors
programs, such as the ground water protection study and the
designing of County owned community sewer systems.
a work session on
January 23, 2003
and the Commissioners discussed the proposed amendment to the
Fauquier County Code. The Planning Commission originally scheduled
the proposed amendment for its February Public Hearing Agenda,,
which was rescheduled in March due to inclement weather.
At the Public Hearing three individuals responsible for
installing septic systems spoke in favor of the ordinance; there
was no opposition.
Planning Commission unanimously forwarded the proposed amendment
to Chapter 17 of the Fauquier County Code to the Board of
Supervisors for adoption as presented.
Action of the Board of Supervisors:
the conclusion of the work session, schedule a public hearing for
the proposed amendment to Chapter 17 of the Fauquier County Code.
The County Health
Department does not anticipate an immediate financial need at this
time in order to initiate the implementation of this program.
Future personnel and office costs should be covered by local fees,
which are currently being reviewed and amended. Due to the limited
number of these systems currently in the County, the initiation of
this program should not be overwhelming. The anticipated numbers
of these alternative systems being installed in the future and
ensuring that existing systems are in performance compliance will
be financed by a fee which is being developed.
the present time, the Rappahannock-Rapidan Regional Commission (RRRC;
PD-9) is working with the County in developing a tracking program
to identify and locate all on-site systems on a GIS-associated
layer. Also this regional tracking program should allow the County
to develop a program to monitor these systems that need annual
maintenance, if that is the direction the Board of Supervisors
wants to pursue. Grant monies are being sought to finance these
computer programs and provide personnel to enter data.
any Departments, Organizations or Individuals that would be
affected by this request:
Health Department, Community Development, County
Attorney’s Office, Commissioner of the Revenue, Certified
Professional Soil Scientists/Authorized On-Site Soil Evaluators,
Licensed Professional Engineers, Homeowners, Certified Maintenance
Professionals, State Certified System Installers, Licensed Land
Public Summary Information:
proposed Ordinance will require that new conventional systems be
pumped every five (5) years or sooner if home has a garbage
disposal. Homeowner would pay for this service.
It does not affect systems approved and functioning; those
are grandfathered systems.
alternative systems (i.e., on-site systems with smaller footprint
than conventional systems and all systems which require
pretreatment) will require an engineered design and stamp
certification. This requirement is not mandated by State Health
Department Regulations for many proprietary systems that have been
approved for use in the
. This Engineering fee would add to the cost of some alternative
systems being proposed in the County, and limit the design to
qualified professionals that can seal and certify such systems.
County staff and Health Department’s position is that this
fiscal impact would be minimal to the system owner and in many
cases when the system design incorporates a proprietary system
product, the manufacturer’s operation and maintenance manual may
be adequate. It is the intent of this Ordinance to inform the
homeowner how to properly use their particular on-site system, and
this communication is best done with a specific engineered design.
It also places more liability on the engineer to ensure that the
maintenance and monitoring of the homeowner’s system is clearly
understood and is performed according to design.
systems that require maintenance over and above conventional
systems will require a Conditional Permit with the maintenance
requirements recorded as part of the permit approval. This will
ensure that present and future homeowners will maintain and
provide monitoring data to the County so a major failure will not
occur due to system abuse or internal mechanical malfunction.
final edit and approval by the Board of Supervisors, this
Ordinance would be incorporated into Chapter 17.
Proposed Amendment to Chapter 17 of the
II. ONSITE SEWAGE SYSTEM
DESIGN, MAINTENANCE AND MONITORING
Categories of onsite waterborne sewage disposal systems.
There are two
categories of onsite waterborne sewage disposal systems:
traditional on-site sewage disposal system consists of a sewer line,
septic tank, distribution box and a series of 2’ to 3’ wide drainfield
laterals installed in gravel. These
systems are designed to dispose and treat the effluent at a depth of
18’’ to 54’’ and depend on the naturally occurring soil.
Traditional systems may use a sewage pump to lift the effluent to a
single higher elevation.
Alternative proprietary pre-engineered systems:
proprietary pre-engineered system is an alternative non-discharge system
which has received general approval from the State Health Commissioner.
Alternative Engineered systems:
are those non-discharge systems which have not received general approval
from the State Health Commissioner.
17-21 Design Requirements for
Alternative proprietary pre-engineered systems
Authorized on Site Soil Evaluator (hereinafter AOSE) may design a
proprietary pre-engineered system which is within the pre-engineered
limits of the system. When the
system is not within the pre-engineered limits or involves a reduction in
disposal area, the Health Department may require design or review by a
Professional Engineer, licensed to practice in the
in consultation with an Authorized On-site Soil Evaluator and Virginia
Certified Professional Soil Scientist.
Alternative Engineered systems
shall be designed by a Professional Engineer licensed to practice in the
in consultation with an AOSE and Virginia Certified Professional Soil
17-22 Routine maintenance
and monitoring requirements for onsite systems:
systems must be cleaned every 5 years unless there is a garbage disposal
unit or grinder pump, in which case the septic tank must be cleaned at
more frequent intervals if necessary to prevent non-biodegradable material
from migrating to the disposal field.
After the date of adoption of this ordinance, all new or
replacement septic tanks shall be installed with adequate manholes,
properly secured, to allow easy inspection and cleaning of the holding
Maintenance and monitoring of Alternative systems:
- As a
requirement of the engineered design every alternative system must
have an “Operation and Maintenance” manual, written in lay terms
which can be easily understood by the homeowner as well as the
professional operator (if required).
At a minimum, when the engineer prepares the original plan for
the alternative system, that person must specify the effluent limits
for the system as well as the routine service requirements and degree
of expertise required to operate the system.
When the system design incorporates a proprietary system, the
manufacturer’s operation and maintenance manual may be adequate to
comply with this section if so stipulated by the designer.
- Alternative systems that require routine maintenance
over and above traditional systems require a CONDITIONAL PERMIT with
the maintenance requirements recorded as a part of the permit
approval. The conditional
permit, along with the document which enumerates the conditions must
be recorded and indexed in the grantee index in the Land Records of
Fauquier County. The
Health Department may impose conditions based upon the maintenance
requirements of the system including but not limited to a requirement
for a maintenance contract, professional operator or demonstration of
competency to operate the system by the owner/ operator.
Maintenance of disposal fields for traditional and alternative
appropriate ground cover shall be established and maintained over the
disposal site. Permanent
lawn irrigation systems are prohibited within twenty feet of any disposal
area. Trees and shrubs shall
not be planted or allowed to
grow in the disposal field. The
area reserved for the subsurface disposal field and future repair of the
system shall be retained for that sole purpose.
structures shall be placed over the subsurface soil absorption system.
Driveways or parking lots shall not be constructed on the subsurface soil
absorption system unless the invert of the lead or header lines or top of
the gravel in the absorption trenches is deeper than 30 inches below the
ground surface and the driveway or parking lot is paved with portland
cement or bituminous concrete to prevent compaction of the trench bottom.
Driveways and parking lots shall not be constructed over the distribution
box unless adequate structural and access provisions are provided.
In order to protect the
public health it shall be unlawful for any owner to neglect or abuse any
sewage disposal system, fail to perform the routine or necessary
maintenance, fail to comply with the requirements of a conditional permit,
fail to file required monitoring reports, or fail to comply with any other
provision of this article.
Violations; Penalties; Applicability
The penalty for any
violation of this Article shall be the same as that set forth in Article
I, Section 17-19. This Article
shall apply to all systems constructed after the date of adoption.