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Septic Tank Monitoring , fees and penalties

    • 78 posts
    January 21, 2009 1:05:12 AM PST
    For those of you who saw the posting about well monitoring but don't have wells, please go read those posts anyway.  If you have a septic tank the issues discussed there apply to you.  The state wants to monitor both your well and septic and the consequences for not passing their tests could be very costly to you!  We really need everyone who's concerned to contact the state agency involved and express your views.  Thanks!!
    • 102 posts
    January 21, 2009 6:34:51 AM PST
    While I do not support more government. The cost of a septic system leaking and leaking into a well would be more than the cost of inspection. Everyone should have their water tested every 5-6 years. If a well becomes contaminated others could become contaminated which could cause health problems. The more development on wells and septic systems we have the bigger the problem. While Hal is spending tax money at a smart growth conference maybe he can find a solution.
    • 714 posts
    January 21, 2009 6:49:34 AM PST
     I sent both Aanestad and Logue a message on this subject. I told them when they can manage a budget and the boarders and the schools and the roads, then they can try to manage all of the wells and septic systems in the state.
     My new fangled sand filter system cost me about twenty five thousand dollars and the county inspector checked every thing from the depth of the sand filter pit to the size and cleanliness of the sand an gravel to the grade and depth of the leach field trenches. I have over twenty access points to the sewer. Each one inspected and passed by a county employee that I paid for each trip she made out.

     Just check the well and septic when the property is sold and that should cover it.
    • 2563 posts
    January 21, 2009 3:11:33 PM PST
    What would AB 885 do for situations like Gold Village?
    • 1133 posts
    January 21, 2009 9:33:31 PM PST
    My take on the well and Septic monitoring is that it is a stepping stone piece of legislation to empowering Govt. with more emminent (spelling) Domain powers.  I really don't think the monitoring would be very beneficial for the property owners, but would be very profitable for the govt. or private agency they contracted out to do the monitoring.  Just another intrusive effort of Govt. to dictate what it has no business dictating.

    Regarding the charging us for Air, it already happens at Gas stations.  You have to pay  to use the air and water machine, or purchase gas to get a "free" token to use the machine.  It used to be a free service, now it's just another way to pick the pocket of the consumer.

    • 543 posts
    January 23, 2009 11:56:44 AM PST
    What I was talking about was "the very air we breathe". It will not surprise me when that time comes they look for a way to charge us every time we inhale air into our lungs.

    Otherwise, if we don't pay the (silly thought, not yet) fee, we and our families can get various diseases, ailments, and even then, the pharmaceutical companies will continue to rake it all in (more than they are already doing now).
    Rock and a hard spot. When people try to stand up and protest (or someday literally fight) for our lives, we will be considered idiots, uneducated, deviants, antisocial, radical, misinformed, (the list goes on as it currently does in many topics of society).
    I look at the long picture, here, we can suffer and go through alot of rubbish, but I wonder very much about the lives of my kids, their kids, etc. Alot of kids even today see what is going on, they say their opinion, or even try to spread the word, and they get hushed real quick, reprimanded, even threatened. If many of us adults don't see what's happening, then we are either ignoring what we see and know, or just don't care.

    I care about my country and the people in it. I don't want to see things continue little by little to the point that people are literally at someones mercy, or (worse) too scared to even speak at a normal tone to eachother without fear of consequences. Believe me, it can happen. Also the media is not our friend in many ways. The words Global Warming was smoothly changed to Climate Change....Whew! Gee!  That sure made alot of difference.

    About the well/septic inspections being left until property is sold, well, they may end up working it in a way that the SELLER has to do such-and-such before the home can be sold. I personally wouldn't want to buy a home that I would have to invest thousands into right off the bat. Big chunk of money coming from alot of sellers right from the start PLUS the every five year inspection fees coming from the buyers, and even some years from now, there may be even more new requirements. Gosh, can't win for losing, but it sure is a good way to at least put up some fight. Just don't like the losing part.   

    Now, back to finding another dead tree to throw some more stones at.  The squirrels are really upset with me by now. Maybe they will feel better if I leave them some peanuts at the base of the tree when I'm done year.    
    • 342 posts
    January 23, 2009 12:31:34 PM PST
    How many people bought their home after AB 885 was passed in 2000 and did not know about it?  Why didn't the state make this a mandatory disclosure to new owners on properties that would be impacted?  It appears to me from reading the overview of AB 885 that one of the alternatives is to maintain the status quo.  That is my vote.
    • 342 posts
    January 23, 2009 12:43:37 PM PST
    I forgot to include the important information, if you don't already have it:

    Written comments must be received or postmarked on or before February 9, 2009. Written comments are to be addressed and submitted to:

    Mr. Todd Thompson, P.E.
    Division of Water Quality
    State Water Resources Control Board
    1001 I Street
    P. O. Box 2231
    Sacramento, CA 95812
    Letterhead FAX: (916) 341-5463
    Email comments should be sent to:

    For any questions regarding this matter, please phone Mr. Todd Thompson at (916) 341-5518 or email him at the email address provided above.

    • 1030 posts
    January 24, 2009 7:28:41 AM PST

    My Interpretation of AB885 is… They are trying to make

    Sand Filtration Septic Systems mandatory statewide.

    The standard septic tank/leach field system is not filtering

    enough to meet today’s standards and is allowing phosphorous

    and other things back into the ground water through cracks in

    the earth and bedrock.


    Go to this link and read the section 30002.SWRCB-

    General Requirements  


    They are trying to slow down pollutants that may make their

    way back into the water table. They mention the phosphorous

    from soap, shampoo and laundry detergent. Brine rinse water

    from your water softener is a pollutant also and they don’t want

    that going down the drain into your Sand Filter Septic System

    as it can damage the sand filter part of the system and puts the

    brine water closer to the water table. I have mine watering the

    plants at ground level. I have a Sand Filtration Septic System

    that is five years old and will document each time I service it.

    I have serviced it once in the five years and it did not really

    need to be done as it was in great shape and working as it should.



    AB885- Basically, If you have a standard septic system and

    you sell your home it will be required to be upgraded to a

    Sand Filtration Septic System. If your standard septic system

    fails and you have to have a new system installed it will have

    to be a new Sand Filtration Septic System. The monitoring part

    is to watch for failing systems.

    • 631 posts
    January 24, 2009 8:13:25 AM PST

    When Yuba County started requiring pressure dose sand filter type septic system about 25 years ago I interviewed the health department head that started this requirement.  At that time there was an active action committee in the Browns Valley/Loma Rica area and I did this interview on assignment from the committee.  The reasons for this requirement then were the same as they are now, well contamination.

     The first question I asked was how many wells were contaminated in the county?  The answer was I don’t know.  The county does not keep any records on contaminated wells.  I then asked how many wells do you know of that are contaminated in the county?  He said he didn’t know of any.  Then I asked why was he forcing this expensive system on the people of the foothills?  His answer was because he was in charge and this is what was best for the county.  This individual, after many years, was fired by the county and then sued the county for wrongful termination.

     A little over a year ago I went to the health department and asked them about the reasons for the new well regulation.  First it was because the state was going to require it.  Then it was because of the nitrates in the water.  Then it was to track the wells in the county to ascertain the water table.  When I stated state law takes precedent over county law they (county personnel) ignored it and refused to discuss it.  When asked about how many wells with high levels of nitrates were in the county, they didn’t know because they don’t keep track of them.  When asked why they couldn’t use information from existing wells to map water in the foothills, they didn’t have the personnel.

     I have lived here for over 30 years and only know of contaminated wells on property that is less than 5 acres.  There is one well off Fruitland Road near Marysville Road and there are some on the small lots off of Loma Rica Road by Loop Road.  As to the high levels of nitrates I have not studied this issue enough to know if it is problem or it is a case of the government reducing the count until they could find a problem based on their change, not facts.  It is perception and not facts that these well and septic ordinances are based on.  The real intent is to increase revenue for the government agency that is instituting them.  I was taught that if there was 100 plus feet of good dirt between the septic system and the well there would be no contamination.  I live in the old Harding home off of Township Road.  Our well is a hand dug well that has been here for over 100 years.  This is a surface water well.  None of our children raised on that water suffered from symptoms that excessive nitrates would cause.  Jim Harding, who was born and raised on this well water, died just days short of his 100th birthday. 

    It is interesting to note that these ordinances are suppose to protect us, but where is this protection in the ordinances?  The ordinances have provisions for fines that go to the government and will make the clean up the responsibility of the perpetrator.  The government will receive all of the monetary benefit and the people will get nothing.  Again, these ordinances are not for the protection of the people, but revenue for the government.  

    Wouldn't an ordinance of all septic systems to be 100 feet from the property line and 100 feet from all water sources be sufficient?.  If we have this than why do need to have these other ordinances that only cost and do not protect.  Oh, by the way there is this type of setback ordinance in the county. 


    • 102 posts
    January 24, 2009 8:17:20 AM PST
    AB 885 is no different than AB 32 or AB 375 or a host of other bills that have been past over the past few years they are all intended to force people to live in cities (smart Growth) stop building in rural areas stop wells and septic systems. The biggest threat to Yuba County is Nevada County. Every time they drill a well in the Penn Valley Lake Wildwood area they are reduceing the amount of water that flows down hill. The septic systems and sewer systems in that area all drain into the Yuba River and into Yuba County. Most of the people who worked on No on N were from Nevada I dont care how you feel about Yuba Highlands BUT when are the people in Yuba County going to beginn protesting the uncontroled development in Nevada that is affecting our quality of life. California is broke one way Sacramento is going to recover is through fees 885,32,375 ect they all have fees associated. If a business can move to another state and not have to pay these fees not have to meet the regulations California has imposed they are moveing. The only industry that will locate in California is going to be Casinos why first they are taking money out of the local economy and second the are not required to follow California Laws and Regs. Every time one on the people we send to Sacramento passes a bill or law we pay.
    • 32 posts
    January 24, 2009 1:23:45 PM PST
    The thing that gets me going about AB885 is the way the State has kept people in the dark about it for so long only to come out of the shadows recently with a short deadline for public comment and concerns to be aired. I'll bet that 80% of the people that will be affected by these new regs don't even know they are about to be blindsided with these new fees/requirements. I have been tracking this AB for a couple of years now and I even wrote my state reps (Assembly and Senate) about alot of the concerns expressed on this thread. Got a response from Leslie that he does not support it but I do not know how much he can do about it since the legeslation was passed years ago. It is hard to believe that they would give the WRB so much lattitude in implementing this legislation. Seems like we are getting the "mushroom treatment" again - being kept in the dark and fed alot of s...
    • 543 posts
    January 26, 2009 2:00:10 PM PST
    About how much does it cost to install the sand filtration system? That sounds much better than the standard septic tank. We were going to do that at our other house, just couldn''t afford it at that time. Still can't afford it now, but monthly payments would be easier to cope with.
    Also does the sand filtration system take up less land space?  Right now we have NO CLUE AT ALL where the leach field even is, and the previous owners did a rotten job on placing the location of the tank (one corner is about a foot into the actual driveway.
    We would like to install a system as soon as able, then get an inspector out in that process to make sure everything is fine.
    Still, the issue about the well, we pay PG & E every time that well kicks on. The water is coming from a hole in the ground on our property, and we should not have to pay someone else for that water. We are storing up rainwater, they better keep their mits out of that too. Yeah, wouldn't surprise me if they tax us for having a tank on the property, take note and ration our useage and they send someone out to inspect and be sure no one is sneaking water. Better hide the buckets, and take down the gutters. This is crazy. 
    • 543 posts
    January 26, 2009 2:03:12 PM PST
    Oh, I want to add. Our well is waaaay, waaaay, waaay, far away from the septic tank. I'm talking at least three acres away. Those guys have no crummy excuse in regards to well and tank being too close together. Without a doubt.
    • 342 posts
    January 27, 2009 5:18:16 AM PST
    Don't laugh about the controversy of storing rain water--in Colorado and a few other states it is still illegal to do so unless you have water rights as the rainfall belongs to someone else "downstream".  They are currently trying to change the law in Colorado.
    • 518 posts
    January 27, 2009 2:07:35 PM PST
         Thanks to all you people who are getting your comments in about AB 885. 
         The county is also working hard to get the legislature to amend the bill so that it is reasonable and not at all onerous.  (Personally, I am not sure they have the science  to justify the bill at all.) I will not go into all the details because there are many,  and you have read them before; but your input to the state is important. 
          I'll try to keep you posted on significant events, and questions are always welcome. 
           Hal  Stocker,  675-2282
    • 1030 posts
    January 27, 2009 6:42:45 PM PST
    Sand filtration systems cost between $10,000 to $22,000 depending
    on the system. They do take up more space as the sand filter portion
    is 18' X 20' X 6' deep and is put between your septic tanks and leach
    field. It is possible to use your existing septic tank in some cases if it
    is a twin tank type. Your leach field could possibly be used also
    depending on the age and size of it. All that knowing, could bring
    the price down quite a bit. It is and investment for sure and required
    for new home construction in our area of the County.
    • 1007 posts
    January 28, 2009 7:34:29 AM PST
    Recognize that the cost doesn't end with the installation.  With a pressure dose system, your effluent is sent by a pump in doses into the leach field.  Sounds simple.  Pumps need electricity to run, and they must be fixed if something goes wrong, which can be often for some reason. 
    • 543 posts
    January 28, 2009 8:54:59 AM PST
    That is so ah, ah, absurd. Then they better realize that even the folks downstream don't have water rights except those folks who are at THE LOWEST elevation. Know what I mean? Even county utilities that try to store water, better not be upstream or higher than the realized lowest elevation, then it should even be illegal for them too.

    One way they can NEVER get ya......Open your mouth in the middle of a downpour.   I tell ya, it would be so funny to see people everywhere, young and old, running outside, stretch their arms out like their yawning and grab a mouthfull.   hee hee   That'll really piss them off, then they will post the new law: Any Yawning Or Excercise Of Any Kind Is Punishable By Law.
    Then after that: Any Person Hooking Lips To ANY Downspout Will Be Punished To The Fullest Extent Of The Law, i.e. $5,000 fine, and/or five days in the nearest desert plus 6 months SUPERVISED probation. (depending on how many officers it took using applied force trying to get the lips pulled off the downspout) 
    • 17 posts
    January 29, 2009 7:38:40 PM PST
    3reiki, you are hilarious!
    I followed the link from hdtrvlr and noted this right away: This Chapter applies to all new OWTS. Requirements in this Chapter apply to existing OWTS only where specifically indicated.

    I didn't go to the point where "existing OWTS" were specifically indicated, but it appears that these regs will start off only applying to "new OWTS"

    that is only somewhat comforting because as soon as they get one tentacle in, the others come rapidly, choking the air out of you until your lips are ripped from the downspout.
    • 543 posts
    January 29, 2009 9:13:10 PM PST
    Hey, they can't do that! I already paid my fee for air.