Onsite sewage systems; validity of certain septic tank permits. (HB1804)

Introduced By

Del. Barry Knight (R-Virginia Beach)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Onsite sewage systems; waivers. Provides that an owner of real property who (i) obtained a waiver to repair a failing onsite sewage system on or between July 1, 2004, and July 1, 2011, (ii) completed such repair, and (iii) desires to upgrade the system to meet the minimum regulatory requirements of the Board of Health that were in place on the date such waiver was obtained may request a waiver from all requirements established by the Board of Health after the date the initial waiver was obtained. The bill requires the Commissioner of Health to grant any request for such waiver. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Passed


01/13/2015Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/14/15 15101747D
01/13/2015Referred to Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions
01/20/2015Assigned HWI sub: Subcommittee #3
01/26/2015Impact statement from VDH (HB1804)
01/28/2015Subcommittee recommends reporting with amendment(s) (5-Y 0-N)
01/29/2015Reported from Health, Welfare and Institutions with amendments (22-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
01/30/2015Read first time
02/02/2015Read second time
02/02/2015Committee amendments agreed to
02/02/2015Engrossed by House as amended HB1804E
02/02/2015Printed as engrossed 15101747D-E
02/03/2015Impact statement from VDH (HB1804E)
02/03/2015Read third time and passed House BLOCK VOTE (98-Y 0-N)
02/03/2015VOTE: BLOCK VOTE PASSAGE (98-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/04/2015Constitutional reading dispensed
02/04/2015Referred to Committee on Education and Health
02/12/2015Reported from Education and Health (14-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/13/2015Constitutional reading dispensed (37-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/16/2015Read third time
02/16/2015Passed Senate (38-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/19/2015Bill text as passed House and Senate (HB1804ER)
02/19/2015Impact statement from VDH (HB1804ER)
02/19/2015Signed by Speaker
02/20/2015Signed by President
02/23/2015G Governor's Action Deadline Midnight, Monday, March 30, 2015
02/23/2015Enrolled Bill communicated to Governor on 2/23/15
02/23/2015G Governor's Action Deadline Midnight, Sunday, March 29, 2015
03/16/2015G Approved by Governor-Chapter 111 (effective 7/1/15)
03/16/2015G Acts of Assembly Chapter text (CHAP0111)


This bill was discussed on the floor of the General Assembly. Below is all of the video that we have of that discussion, 1 clip in all, totaling 40 seconds.


Mark B writes:

This bill serves no public use. This loop hole is used by realtors and mortgage brokers buying homes with faulty septic systems for which they do not want to spend money to fix. This bill along with its' predecessor gives individuals the "right" to dump raw sewage into groundwater. This helps the citizens and Commonwealth how?

Irony-A realtor/developer is proposing the legislation.

Good luck raising children in the cesspool known as coastal Virginia.

Bobby Orrock can fix this bill if the favor is justified.

Kym H. writes:

It wouldn't hurt to have some knowledge of the septic industry before making inept comments. This bill doesn't help realtors and developers in any way. It's actually trying to protect private homeowners from an over reaching bureaucracy known as the Virginia Department of Health. Some arbitrary wording has created a loophole that is harming homeowners, especially the elderly, when they try to sell their home. This only affects homes that had septic repairs and waived costly treatment from 7/1/04 to 7/1/11. Treatment systems cost between $15k - $25k+. Coming up with that amount of $$$ in an emergency is very difficult. It has already been scientifically determined that only between 4% - 6% of the pollution in the Chesapeake Bay comes from septic systems. So the blame for the "cesspool known as coastal Virginia" needs to be directed elsewhere. Lastly, the Delegate introducing this bill is neither a realtor nor developer. He's actually a farmer just trying to protect the citizens of Virginia from government overreach.

Wiley Kayote writes:

Delegate Knight proposes a waiver from onsite sewerage requirements which will permit untreated sewage effluent discharge to the ground and surface waters of Virginia.

A websearch reveals the Delegate is interested in site development and has received considerable taxpayer support for his investments.

The ability for VDH to waive regulations, or provide services with a "fix it when it fails" business model benefits well placed real estate owners, and seems to embrace considerable conflict of interest.

I hope the delegates reject this bill, and consider whether this is a topic for consideration by an ethics panel.


Wiley Kayote writes:

12VAC5-613-90.C.1 states, in part, “If the concentration of any constituent in ground water exceeds the limit in the standard for that constituent, no addition of that constituent to the naturally occurring concentration shall be made. The commissioner shall consult with the Department of Environmental Quality prior to granting the variance.” For sewage systems that already disperse septic tank effluent directly into the groundwater, then the constituents from the repair or voluntary upgrade will not add or worsen an already existing condition- Excerpted from VDH notes dated 5/17/14.

The proposed Bill supports the waiver policy, extends to failed systems, but does not require public notice of the introduction of sewage into ground water.

Typical application of this waiver is when an existing dwelling is acquired and the owners do not choose to invest to bring sewerage into compliance.

The marginal investment to treat and disperse sanitized effluent ranges from $5-15,000 a fraction of the property value, and preventing assured contamination of source water. Once polluted the groundwater can not be rendered potable again, surface water is less problematic but w/in the avowed public charge of protecting health, welfare and safety. Conversely the VDH may at it's discretion require more expensive specifications, including effluent testing for proposals supported by applicants with engineered systems.

The VDH should not permit direct dispersal of sewage into the environment without compliance to regulatory setbacks to water table,and effluent quality standards. Indeed no professional engineer or OSE would certify such a design without ministerial protection.

Peter K writes:

By the sound of this bill, it looks like Delegate Knight is looking to room with Governor McDonell soon.

Anonymous writes:


[kuh-ruhp-shuh n]


the act of corrupting or state of being corrupt.


moral perversion; depravity.


perversion of integrity.


corrupt or dishonest proceedings.




debasement or alteration, as of language or a text.


a debased form of a word.

Hog farmer/delegate writes legislation to benefit their personal development interests. The bill smells as bad as his barn!

F. R. Lee writes:

Voluntary upgrades appear to delay the inevitable. Remove the State's poor excuse of a professional liability deception and get rid of the indemnification fund.

Re-purpose the indemnification fund by turning everything over to a grant program administered independently outside the Health agency, and make it sliding scale to help those less fortunate or indigent.

James Slusser, AOSE writes:

Does the Attorney General believe in Science?


Where is the consumer protection associated with HB1804?

The State Board of Health has abrogated its duty to protect the citizens from undue harm. Public health statistics for disease outbreaks and exposure are deeply rooted in SCIENCE.

"After exposure to improperly treated sewage, the diseases humans may possibly contract are myriad." --Robert B. Stroube, M.D., M.P.H., State Health Commissioner


Voluntary upgrades have subverted Virginia's economic future by removing consumer protections, environmental protections, and thereby eroding an already vulnerable infrastructure. There remains no question as to the efficacy of legislating owners who possess a valid septic permit to indiscriminately pollute without regard for public health, safety, or welfare. This cognitive dissonance does not come without a price to Virginia.

Sandra G writes:

In other words, if a waiver is granted on XX date and the property doesn't change hands until 20 years down the road, long after the regulations have changed, the owner only has to comply with 20 year old regulations? Doesn't make much sense to me. I therefore oppose this proposed legislation.

Nan Gray writes:

Healthy soils protect groundwater. Dead soils do not protect groundwater. Soils no longer functioning in the land use intended fail to protect groundwater. Administer the trust fund to clean up leaking tanks.

Jeff T. Walker; AOSE writes:

This Bill requires the Commissioner to violate public health regulations; in favor of public nuisance. At minimum require the public advertisement of permitting pollution of groundwater.

12VAC5-613-10. Definitions."Pollution" means such alteration of the physical, chemical, or biological properties of any state waters as will or is likely to create a nuisance or render such waters (i) harmful or detrimental or injurious to the public health, safety, or welfare or to the health of animals, fish, or aquatic life; (ii) unsuitable with reasonable treatment for use as present or possible future sources of public water supply; or (iii) unsuitable for recreational, commercial, industrial, agricultural,or other reasonable uses. Pollution shall include any discharge of untreated sewage into state waters.

Kevin R writes:

§ 32.1-15. Suggestions as to legislation.

The Board may, at each regular session of the General Assembly, suggest any legislative action deemed necessary for the better protection of life and public health.

(Code 1950, § 32-21; 1979, c. 711.)

Drew writes:

Solution to the problem is a renewable Sewage Operation permits on a 5 year status. This can be achieve when the Ches. Bay Act is met with regards of septic pump out requirements. The lic. Pumper now considered to be a operator per DPOR be required to state with their pump out manifest that the sewage system is not surfacing or backing up in the house since that is the only verbage in the Sewage Handling & Disposal Regs/ AOSS Regs that constitutes a sewage system to be failing.
I concur with Mr Walker the proposal does with its verbage to indicate that the Commissioner and its representatives to knowingly violate public health Laws.
I didn't put a whole lot of thought into my answer AS Witnessed with the submittal given by Mr. Knight on his Proposed written Bill-

Mr. Orrock as my Del. you voted yes- Your stating that its Legal and you accept that your neighbor can knowingly allow sewage to spill on lands next to or onto your property and into your aquifer which supplies water to your well?

Please respond via email to me to explain your vote of YES. Since your my Representive.