Old septic tank law could be flushed

Published 9:06 am Friday, September 23, 2016

Lincoln County Supervisors may get rid of some of the red tape home and business owners must cut through to get septic systems installed.

Steve Melton with the Mississippi Pumpers Association approached the board earlier this week to suggest they revise or repeal an ordinance preventing property owners and septic tank installers from taking advantage of a two-acre rule passed in the Mississippi Legislature in 2011.

According to House Bill 105, any lot two acres or larger is exempt from health department regulations related to the approval of individual on-site wastewater disposal systems, provided the wastewater is contained on the lot, water courses are not impacted and the certified installer provides the department with a signed affidavit that the system was installed in compliance with all requirements.

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According to Melton, Lincoln County is one of about 13 counties to implement an ordinance to prevent the use of the two-acre rule at the request of the Mississippi State Department of Health.

Melton said most of the counties that passed the ordinance were more heavily populated than Lincoln County.

Melton told supervisors the health department often requires property owners to use advanced treatment systems that are more costly to install and maintain than a septic tank. Even with the two-acre exception, septic tanks must still be installed by a septic tank installer licensed by the health department, and safety rules must be followed.

“You can’t just go out and put a 50-gallon drum in and run a line into a ditch,” Melton said. “That’s still illegal.”

Board attorney Bob Allen said he would rather revise the ordinance currently in place.

“My preference would be to amend it as opposed to doing away with it, because there are some other parts to it,” he said.

The board decided to table the issue until a proposed amendment could be written.