Septic Inspections Hit Troubled Waters

Florida lawmakers may repeal a mandate passed last year intended to make the state a safer, cleaner place. The law called for mandatory septic tank inspections.

These inspections are to take place every five years to ensure that property owners are maintaining septic systems.

Just weeks ago, Senate Bill 2A passed without the governor’s signature, delaying the implementation date of the inspection program from Jan. 1 to July 1.

Ben Grumbles, assistant administrator of the Office of Water at the Environmental Protection Agency, said people underestimate the importance of checking septic tanks and many problems can arise when they fail.

“Proper septic system maintenance is a commonly overlooked responsibility. Failing systems are a significant threat to our health and our water quality. Property owners system evaluation is meant to make sure that septic tanks in the state are maintained properly to avoid contaminating other water sources.

These inspections can cost a couple hundred dollars, compared to the thousands it costs to have a septic system replaced.

Some lawmakers, like Sen. Don Gaetz thinks the inspections would impose unnecessary costs on citizens.

“We are one step closer to repealing this law that would cause a tremendous financial burden to Floridians already suffering from the worst economy in generations,” said Gaetz in a press release.

The recent law gives policy-makers a chance to evaluate if they want this mandate to take effect. They have the option of holding public hearings to decide whether they would like repeal is feasible.

There are over 2.67 million septic tanks in the state, according to the Florida Department of Health. If the mandate does not get repealed then those property owners will have to add another expense to their budget.

Bernithy Robinson owns property in Tallahassee and said she sees the good and the bad with the idea of having inspections, but she doesn’t like the fact that it would be mandatory.

“I understand that we have to maintain our tanks to make sure that they are working properly, but I don’t think that we should have to get them checked if there is nothing wrong with them,” said Robinson.

Robinson also mentioned that she did have problems with her tank a long time ago but has not had a problem since then. She hopes that if this mandate is implemented, it will not be more trouble than it is worth.

“I know there might be some things that as a regular person I might not be able to see or check but it shouldn’t be mandatory.”

The law is scheduled to take effect on July 1.