of the County Code was adopted in 1973. Although it was
amended in 1978, 1988, 1991 and 1994, Article I still
retains most of its original content and form. Many of the
requirements are counter to current State regulations,
primarily the Sewage Handling and Disposal Regulations.
Article I also does not acknowledge current technologies and
practices of environmentally safe on-site sewage treatment
and disposal. The attached revision of Chapter 17 Article I
is a substantial revision, bringing Article 1 into
compliance with State Regulations, protecting public health
and safety and addressing current technologies. The
revision has been produced as a complete rewrite and is not
conducive to a line-in line out analysis. A copy of the
current ordinance is also attached.
was produced through the efforts of a working committee
composed of a sewage system installer, staff from three soil
consulting firms, Health Department staff and the County
Soil Scientist Office staff. It has been review and revised
by the management staff of the Community Development
Department and the County Attorney.
additional amendment to Chapter 17, unrelated to the
technical update described above, is also included for Board
consideration. It would clear a gray area in Chapter 17
concerning drainfields and residue parcels. Specifically,
it would clarify that the reserve drainfield requirement
applies to the residue parcel when a new lot or lots are
created. This requirement has been inconsistently, and in
fact rarely, applied over the years. The rationale for
requiring that a residue lotís reserve drainfield meets
current standards is based on health and safety. If a
drainfield was installed long ago, it likely that the
reserve area does not meet current standards and the
property may not even have a reserve drainfield. If such a
lot is subdivided, and in the future the existing drainfield
fails, there may be no ability to remedy the situation
that residue lots meet the countyís current reserve
drainfield standards will require additional analysis of the
residue parcel, which will increase costs to the applicant.
Additionally in some instances lack of available reserve
area may preclude the proposed subdivision. It is likely
that some divisions will no longer be allowed if the
countyís current reserve drainfield standard is required of
out-dated and nonconformance of current Article I with the
State Regulations include:
Allowing construction of building sewers and leach lines
of bituminous fiber pipe when Virginia Department of
Health (VDH) regulations do not allow these;
Allowing metal septic tanks when VDH regulations do not
allow these; and
leach line trench spacing solely on trench width when
VDH regulations also require an adjustment to trench
spacing based on slope.
Changes to Chapter 17 Article I include:
Adoption of the State's Sewage Disposal and Handling
Adding, removing and changing definitions;
Defining evidence of "approved method of disposal of
sewage" as a valid Operation Permit from VDH.
within 300 feet of sanitary sewer :
waiver of connection may be granted jointly by the
Water and Sewer Authority (WSA) and the Community
Development Department in cases of undue hardship;
cannot connect to sanitary sewer when outside of
sewered portion of the service districts except as a last
resort to repair an existing, failing drainfield;
allows small users (less than 900 gal/day) to apply
for a Special Permit, rather than a Special Exception, to
install an individual sewage disposal system when the sewer
treatment plant does not have sufficient capacity to allow
the connection of the building to sanitary sewer.
Requiring final plats to have a statement that
drainfield must be surrounded by safety fence prior to
Requiring applications to VDH for a construction permit
for an alternative system to include a site grading plan
with 2-foot contour topographic information.
Requiring a soil consultant to be both a Certified
Professional Soil Scientist (CPSS) and an Authorized
On-site Soil Evaluator (AOSE).
Limiting VDH Construction Permits to 2 renewals.
Requiring CPSS/AOSE to propose a traditional
(conventional) system if it is possible. If not
possible, CPSS/AOSE must supply a statement explaining
why it is not possible and why an alternative system
must be used.
setback requirements for stormwater management
facilities and abandoned wells.
Limiting drainfield installation to slopes less than or
equal to 25 percent.
Prohibiting installation of drainfields in FEMA 100 year
Eliminating the requirement that an applicant must apply
for a Special Exception prior to contacting any other
agency concerning application for a discharging sewage
Requiring the house, well and drainfield to be staked
prior to a level 2 evaluation (evaluate site and soils
in the field) by VDH and/or the County Soil Scientist
Requiring a level 2 evaluation by the County Soil
Scientist Office and VDH prior to approval of the
Requiring safety fencing of drainfields, verified by the
County Soil Scientist Office, prior to issuance of the
land disturbing permit.
Requiring septic system installers to have a Class B SDS
Contractor's license (Class A for mass drainfield) and
increases the bonding requirement from $1000 to $50,000.
Requiring septic tank cleaners to transport the sludge
to a sewage treatment plant or other approved
facilities. The raw sludge is not allowed to be
Removing all design criteria and specifications for
individual sewage disposal systems, since many are
counter to current VDH regulations.
changes to Chapter 17 Article I will result in changes to
the Subdivision Ordinance, the Zoning Ordinance and Chapter
17 Article II. The Board will be asked to initiate these
changes when revisions to Chapter 17 Section I are adopted.