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Thursday, 01 December 2016 14:43

Septic System Permits Must be Renewed

Union County residents who own property with a septic system received an application to renew their operation permit the week of Nov. 28, 2016 from the Union County Health Department. The Union County Health Department mailed approximately 9,000 septic system permit applications Friday in compliance with statewide sewage rules that took effect Jan. 1, 2015.

Due to changes in Ohio law, every septic system must be issued an operation permit. In Union County, this meant homeowners and businesses who have a septic system received a permit renewal application in the mail at the end of November. This application must be returned with a $30 permit fee in order to have a valid septic system operation permit for 2017-2019.

“We have received more than 150 calls from residents since Tuesday,” said Marcia Dreiseidel, director of environmental health for the Union County Health Department. “Most callers want to clarify that they need to renew their operation permit and verify that this is not a scam.”

The new law required local health departments to create rules regarding septic systems. The law also requires local health departments to place all septic systems on an Operation & Maintenance (O&M) program. As part of the (O&M) program, local health departments must establish a schedule for renewing septic system permits and ensuring regular inspections are completed. In Union County, septic system operation permits will need to be renewed every 5 years for $10/year. Renewals will be due in years ending in zero and five, with the next renewal scheduled for 2020.

“Renewing the permit of every septic system in Union County is a new process for our staff and our residents. We know everyone has lots of questions, especially since many septic system owners received their original permit several decades ago,” said Dreiseidel.

For the past five years, the Union County Health Department has been sharing information about proposed sewage rule changes. The Health Department has hosted five town hall meetings, sanitarians visited each township trustee meeting and answered questions at community events such as the Union County and Richwood Independent fairs, several articles ran in the local newspapers, and information was included in the Health Department annual report that was mailed to 22,000 homeowners.

Dreiseidel encourages any resident who may have received a permit application but who does not have a septic system to please call the Union County Health Department at (937) 642-2053. Health Department staff will correct any errors upon notification.

Dreiseidel explained that changes in state law were established to try and reduce the number of failing septic system throughout Ohio. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that one in five septic systems will fail. Failure is often due to poor maintenance or improper design.

To learn more about Union County’s Sewage Rules, please click here or call (937) 642-2053.