Wednesday, 22 March 2017 17:37

Sewage Rule Town Hall Meetings

The Union County Health Department wants to hear from residents about how new statewide sewage rules are affecting them. The Health Department welcomes all residents to one of five town hall meetings scheduled this April. The intent of the town hall meetings is to have an open discussion about the issuance of septic system permit, share information about inspection requirements scheduled to begin in 2020, and listen to concerns from the community.

Click the link below to download the powerpoint present at the town hall meetings. 
Sewage Rules Town Hall Meeting

The town hall meetings are scheduled for:

  • Apr. 04, 6 p.m. – Richwood-North Union Public Library, 4 E. Ottawa St, Richwood
  • Apr. 05, 6 p.m. – MillCreek Township Hall, 10420 Watkins Rd, Marysville
  • Apr. 06, 6 p.m. – Allen Township Hall, 16945 Allen Center Rd, Marysville
  • Apr. 19, 6 p.m. - Union County Health Dept, 940 London Ave, Marysville
  • Apr. 26, 6 p.m. – Liberty Township Community Center, 21463 Main St, Raymond

“These town hall meetings are another way for us to both share information with our community and to hear concerns,” said Jason Orcena, health commissioner of the Union County Health Department. “We want to share what aspects of the law we have some local control over and hear from our residents so that we can bring their concerns to the attention of our state representatives.”

In compliance with state law, the Union County Health Department issued septic system operation permit bills to approximately 9,000 Union County homeowners at the end of 2016. The issuance of these permits resulted in hundreds of calls from residents. The majority of callers requested additional information about why the operation permit bill was issued.

“We want to be transparent with our residents,” said Orcena. “We want residents to understand this is part of a state mandate. We also want residents to know that the fee collected for the operation permit goes directly toward covering the cost of doing a visual assessment of every septic system and the costs associated with mailing the permit bills. None of the money goes toward paying for any other programs or service offered by the Health Department.”

Under Ohio sewage rules which went into effect Jan. 1, 2015, every private septic system must be regularly permitted and inspected as part of a local operation and maintenance (O&M) program. The length of permit cycles and inspection cycles can be set by local Boards of Health, but must comply with state minimums.

The Union County Health Department has proposed a three step process for adding nearly 7,000 private septic systems to the local O&M program. Part one is to conduct visual assessments of every private septic system in the county to confirm existence and operational status. These assessments will be completed by township from 2016 through 2019. Part two is to issue regular operation permits as required by state law. Operation permits were issued at the end of 2016 for calendar years 2017 through 2019. Part three is to ensure private septic systems are being regularly inspected. In 2020, proof of regular inspection will be required.

Inspection frequency will vary from annually to once every five years based upon system type. Inspections can be conducted by homeowners who have registered with the Health Department, by a licensed septic system service provider, or by the Union County Health Department. If a homeowner chooses to do their own inspections, they must first complete required free training and free certification per state rules.   

Orcena explained sewage rule changes do not affect homeowners tied into a public sewage system. The rules only apply to homeowners who have a private sewage treatment system and some businesses.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, the statewide rules were developed to set a minimum standard for Ohio homeowners. The rules, which haven’t been updated since 1977, help to ensure failing systems are not leaking sewage into yards, ditches, ponds, lakes and waterways. A statewide survey conducted in 2012, found approximately one-third of all septic systems in Ohio are failing to some degree.

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

Published in In the News
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.  

Published in In the News