Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Virginia Department of Health
State Board of Health
Onsite Sewage Regulations [12 VAC 5 ‑ 611]
Action Adopt new performance-based regulations pertaining to locating, designing, constructing and operating onsite sewage systems.
Comment Period Ended on 11/12/2008
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11/12/08  8:29 pm
Commenter: Harry Homeowner

Why are so many systems failing?

The NOIRA states, "adopt new performance based regulations pertaining to LOCATING, designing, constructing and operating onsite sewage systems".

In the past several years it seems as though there has been a significant increase in the number of new system malfunctions (Loudoun County for example).  Most of these systems are reportedly alternative type systems.  What is causing this increase in failures for brand new systems?

Is it a poor design?  If so, the performance based regulation should contain enough prescription to adequately guide the designer.  The current regulations and GMPs have failed in the regard.

Is it poor construction?  Probably not, but maybe.  Poor construction on alternative system sites is probably less forgiving than poor construction on conventional system sites.  This should be considered when drafting the new regulation.

Is it poor operation or poor maintenance?  Not likely for newly installed systems.  What type of maintenance could prevent a 6 month old system from failing?  Maintenance is obviously very important but it's not going to fix a new system.

Is it a poor site and soil evaluation?  This is probably the culprit.  I hope the new regulation will contain adequate evaluation requirements.

I also hope that there will be severe penalties for practitioners who screw up.

CommentID: 4017