News Feature | February 27, 2014

New EPA Septic Regs: Too Pricey?

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome


Illinois residents are concerned that new EPA septic regulations could hit them with high costs.

The regulations, which went into effect this month, "require a general permit to install any discharging system emptying into any waters of the United States," according to the Quincy Herald-Whig. "The new regulations do not impact homeowners using sewer lines."

"As of Feb. 10, homeowners in Illinois must get what is called a 'general permit' to install a septic tank," Off The Grid News explained

Here's how the EPA presented it: "EPA has made a final decision to issue the general permit for point source discharges of pollutants from new or replacement individual wastewater treatment systems to federally protected waters in Illinois."

The "general permit" sets "discharge limits and requires periodic inspection, monitoring and reporting" for those who need to "discharge pollutants from septic systems to waters of the United States," the EPA said. 

Residents are voicing concerns. 

"Joe Dreyer, who owns Dreyer Construction in [Quincy, IL] said the new regulation could impact a home that discharges into a dry creek bed in a backyard miles away from those larger bodies of water. He said the loose definition eventually will cause problems for any filter that will be built or replaced," the Herald-Whig reported. 

The EPA addressed concerns that the public will get hit with new costs during its regulatory proceeding on this issue. 

"As to [the claim] that this [regulation] would impose a cost on taxpayers, few taxpayers will be permittees under the General Permit. Only persons who are installing new or replacement surface discharging systems will be permittees required to comply with the inspection and sampling requirements of the General Permit, which are not substantial," the agency stated

The agency emphasized that the regulations "will not require any current owners of existing systems to do anything with their current systems," the document said. 

Image credit: "Septic Systems and Steep Slopes (14)," © 2011 Soil Science @ NC State, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license:

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