Sewage system or nonconforming system; development of procedure for processing requests. (HB648)

Introduced By

Del. Barry Knight (R-Virginia Beach) with support from co-patron Sen. Frank Ruff (R-Clarksville)

Progress

Introduced
Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law

Description

State Health Commissioner; State Board of Health; approved sewage system or nonconforming system. Provides for the State Health Commissioner to develop a procedure for processing requests to approve an installed treatment works. The bill authorizes the Commissioner or his agent to approve a nonconforming treatment works under certain conditions and for an owner of real property to accept a voluntary upgrade as a condition for the approval of a nonconforming treatment works. In addition, the bill designates persons who may certify that the sewage treatment available for a building is safe, adequate, and proper. Amends § 32.1-165, of the Code of Virginia. Read the Bill »

Outcome

Bill Has Passed

History

DateAction
01/11/2016Committee
01/11/2016Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/13/16 16103556D
01/11/2016Referred to Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions
01/15/2016Impact statement from VDH (HB648)
01/26/2016Reported from Health, Welfare and Institutions (22-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
01/27/2016Read first time
01/28/2016Read second time and engrossed
01/29/2016Read third time and passed House BLOCK VOTE (97-Y 0-N)
01/29/2016VOTE: BLOCK VOTE PASSAGE (97-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/01/2016Constitutional reading dispensed
02/01/2016Referred to Committee on Education and Health
02/15/2016Assigned Education sub: Health
02/18/2016Reported from Education and Health (15-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/19/2016Constitutional reading dispensed (39-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/22/2016Read third time
02/22/2016Passed Senate (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/24/2016Enrolled
02/24/2016Bill text as passed House and Senate (HB648ER)
02/24/2016Impact statement from VDH (HB648ER)
02/24/2016Signed by Speaker
02/25/2016Signed by President
02/25/2016Enrolled Bill communicated to Governor on 2/25/16
02/25/2016G Governor's Action Deadline Midnight, March 3, 2016
03/01/2016G Approved by Governor-Chapter 96 (effective 7/1/16)
03/01/2016G Acts of Assembly Chapter text (CHAP0096)

Video

This bill was discussed on the floor of the General Assembly. Below is all of the video that we have of that discussion, 3 clips in all, totaling 1 minute.

Transcript

This is a transcript of the video clips in which this bill is discussed.



Sen. John Cosgrove (R-Chesapeake): THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT. THIS IS THE BILL THAT ALLOWS THE DEPARTMENT OF BEHAVIORAL HEALTH AND DEVELOPMENT OF SERVICES TO STOP FILING DUPLICATIVE REPORTS AND DEFINES WHO WHOM THE REPORTS ARE GIVEN.

[Unknown]: SHALL THE SENATE ADOPT THE COMMITTEE CONFERENCE RECORD ON HOUSE BILL 646. ALL IN FAVOR OF THE MOTION WILL. ARE THE SENATORS READY TO VOTE? HAVE ALL THE SENATORS VOTED? DO ANY SENATORS DESIRE TO CH THEIR VOTE? THE CLERK WILL CLOSE THE ROLL. ANGE

Sen. John Cosgrove (R-Chesapeake): AYES 40, NOS 0.

[Unknown]: AYES 40, NOS 0. THE MOTION IS AGREED TO. ON PAGE 16, UNFINISHED

Comments

Anonymous writes:

State Board of Health lobbies a high school educated "hog farmer" to codify polluting your groundwater resources with fancy words. Do you not understand your actions?

It means you are reverting back to a LESS restrictive form of public protection. You know, a system type that is BANNED everywhere except most THIRD world countries.

What's next, you are gonna close all institutions of higher learning?

Editor’s Pick
Anon E Muss writes:

The flaw here is that the VDH is intentionally degrading existing waters. Recurrent flooding has proven no value in adding treatment to existing systems. The VDH will continue to allow waters to be degraded.

How does this agency expect to resolve the issue of contaminated waters as the static water level continues to rise??

Just a new shade of lipstick on an ole pig.

We are in the process of developing a policy for processing repair and voluntary upgrade applications, which will sometimes include replacement of components like a distribution box or header line. We know there is variability in handling these types of applications so we are hoping to have the Commissioner review and endorse a policy to improve consistency and interpretation.

The Sewage Handling and Disposal Regulations, at 12VAC-610-280.C, became effective in July, 2000 (over 15 years ago). On December 7, 2011, performance regulations (12VAC5-613) became effective, which are supplemental to 12VAC5-610, meaning the regulations work together (see 12VAC5-613-40.A). Section 280.C requires adherence to Parts IV and V to the greatest extent possible, and presumably, it is always possible to adhere to the performance regulations found in 12VAC5-613, which is supplemental.

Va. Code Section 32.1-164.1:1 became effective in 2004 (it was subsequently modified in 2005, 2011, and 2015). Again, all of this change occurred after the effective date of 12VAC5-610-280.C. The law specifically states when “the Board's regulations impose (i) a requirement for treatment beyond the level of treatment provided by the existing onsite sewage system when operating properly or (ii) a new requirement for pressure dosing, the owner may request a waiver from such requirements.” Hence, the EH manager can no longer waive requirements as noted in the Section 280.C. When the Board’s regulations require treatment or pressure dosing, the owner can waive that requirement pursuant to Va. Code Section 32.1-164.1:1. When repairing a failing sewage system or voluntarily upgrading one, the law requires VDH to treat them the same (see Va. Code Section 32.1-164.1:3).

With a waiver from pressure dosing or treatment as provided in the Code, then a property owner does not need a variance pursuant to 12VAC5-610-190. A variance is different from the waiver described in the Code. The Commissioner grants variances from the regulations; in contrast, owners request and receive waivers pursuant to the Code without the need for a variance. The waiver in the Code is specific to pressure dosing or treatment while the Commissioner’s authority for granting a variance can apply to pressure dosing, treatment, or other regulations. The options can be confusing: owners can request a variance or receive a waiver; they can receive a variance and a waiver; they can get a variance without a waiver, they can receive a variance even if a waiver was possible.

A sewage system failure means sewage discharging onto the ground surface or backing into the home. When a violation is observed, staff must issue a Notice of Alleged Violation (NOAV) as required by 12VAC5-610-170.A. Until the local health department completes its enforcement action and acknowledges the owner has returned the system to normal function (and no additional action is required), then the sewage system continues to be monitored for additional actions that might be expected over time.

We do not have an on/off switch for voluntary upgrade and repair, such that VDH expects a repair on Day 1 (I see sewage on the ground surface), a voluntary upgrade on Day 2 (I do not see sewage anymore), a repair again on Day 3 (I see sewage once again), and back to a voluntary upgrade on Day 4 (I do not see sewage now). Once the NOAV is issued, VDH asks for action and it is up to VDH to determine how long to monitor the situation and what corrective actions should be explored. The owner can request an IFFC if they do not agree with the NOAV or requested corrective actions. It is truly a case-by-case decision and subject to VDH’s discretion depending on the facts.

The program is complicated as the law and regulation has changed over time with no change to 12VAC5-610-280.C. We are always looking for ways to simplify. VDH would not expect an applicant to fully adhere to all requirements of the regulations.

Dwayne Roadcap
Director, Division of Onsite Sewage,
Water Supplies, Environmental Engineering,
and Marina Programs
Virginia Department of Health
109 Governor Street, 5th Floor

Reed Johnson writes:

Alcon,

I am simple man with simple words. I am personally worried that if we allow this type of waiver we are not doing all we can to protect Virginia''s Enviromental Health. Over the years I have sat in many meetings with my friends from the Division of Onsite Sewage. I have often heard the words and I will quote as best I can, " We have been directed to have the cleanest ground water in America." I am very proud to call them my friends and support such initiatives. I cover a vast amount to the East Coast in this industry. I can tell you, ground water contamination all across the Maryland Eastern Shore has run rampant and the main cause is poor design of septic fields and the reluctance to create the same vision as my friends have at the VDH. I am guessing, but one might take a look at the Virginia Eastern Shore and ask if we have done everything we can to protect our ground water resources in the past, in this part of VA. I remember working for the James City County Service Authority many years ago. All of our water comes from wells here. In and around 2008 we were reconstructing wells in the County. Three of those wells had to be shut down becasue of Fecal Coliform contamination. We were lucky to have been able to decontaminate these wells quickly however, monitoring of ground water in residential wells is not as through. I am very worried that if we allow waivers and a treatment works of a voulantary upgrade is not done properly then we risk contaminating our drinking water supply, for not only the home with the volenteer upgrade but, all homeowners in the surrounding area that share the same ground water resource. I fought and lost the addition of ground water contamination to the definition of failure of a treatments works many years ago. I am hopeful my friends at the VDH make good decsisions and are not pressured into a decsision by legislators who do not know what the heck they are talking about. Cost are important I get that, but there are alternaitves like state funding similar to Marylands Flush tax. I am by no means recommending a tax however, as our onsite infastructure ages in the same manner as our municipal systems are aging, we the citizens of VA will have to be mindful of this one simple fact. Of all the water in the world for our privlege to drink safely only 1/2 of 1% is readily available for our use as drinking water. Be safe my friends, be mindful and above all I hope and prey you make good decsisions.

VDH writes:

This bill is about legitimizing onsite systems that typically were installed illegally or not in compliance with the Board of Health Regulations.

As lots with these systems come up for home sale, it is very difficult to proceed with a transfer since no one will "certify" the septic system as functioning as designed.

FACT: Virginia Department of Health has lobbied this bill to the general assembly.

After years of FAILED oversight, they are now trying to correct their many wrongs in approving systems that should have never been approved in the first place. The owners of "non conforming" systems is looking to benefit from this legislation by not fully complying with the regulations. This happens at the expense of everyone else who was FORCED to comply with regulations.

Oh the irony of a public health agency who has ZERO interest in protecting public health.

Stanly Martin writes:

Soon we will have a birth certificate for cesspools. Great way to leave all that waste and other stuff behind.

Darren B. Silant writes:

Voluntary upgrade, another program to cover your shame.
Permits for systems which pollute the groundwater. 50 year history of damage, rendered perfectly legal with signature and a smile.

William Madison writes:

I don't want toxic dump in my backyard. Could someone please help to explain why these voilation systems are not being tracked and disclosed to the public? Where is my tax dollars going.