Fee looming for septic system users

By: Gus Thomson, Gold Country News Service
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A new State Water Resources Control Board proposal that could hit septic system users in the pocketbook will be the subject of a series of meetings this month in Loomis and other Placer County cities. With an estimated 26,000 septic systems in the county due to be affected by a change in regulations, Placer County Environmental Health Director Jill Pahl said she will be attending several county municipal advisory council meetings during January to inform the public about the septic system proposals. Designed to prevent pollution discharge into state waterways, the regulations implement 2000’s Assembly Bill 885. The proposed regulations are now part of a draft document due to go before the Water Resources Control Board Feb. 9. The new rules would take effect next year and include inspection requirements. A report commissioned by the board estimates the inspections would take place every five years and cost about $325. The new regulations could also affect well owners. Owners of an onsite domestic well could be required to have the water analyzed every five years, with a report sent electronically to the state. The cost is an estimated $325. About 1.2 million California households — or about 10 percent of the state’s total — depend on some form of septic system. The proposal has taken flak from the public, who expressed concern during the comment period on the draft plan over costs for property owners, enforcement and to developers. The cash-strapped state would have to take on an extra workload for both enforcement and monitoring. Pahl will provide information to advisory councils and people who are interested or potentially affected by the proposed regulations. Pahl plans to point out differences from current county standards and how the public may comment on the state board’s proposal. Pahl will attend the meeting of the Newcastle Ophir Municipal Advisory Commission at 7 p.m. tonight in the Loomis Library; the Horseshoe Bar MAC meeting beginning at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 20, in the Loomis Library; and the Penryn MAC meeting Tuesday, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 27, at Loomis Veterans Memorial Hall. The state is holding workshops on the regulations, although none will take place in Auburn. The closest workshop will be