New septic testing regs are unnecessary

Published 9:47 pm Thursday, October 22, 2009

Earlier this month, I wrote the Virginia Department of Health to challenge unneeded and expensive regulations requiring professional testing for home septic systems.

Specifically, I questioned new VDH regulations requiring so-called prophylactic testing for home systems handling less than 1,000 gallons a day.

While all of us share the goal of safe drinking and ground water, these regulations appear to be an administrative overreach – especially given that the cost of up to $1,000 doesn’t appear to advance that laudable objective.

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The regulations presume the need for the expensive professional testing, even when regular maintenance fails to show any need for it, and even though use of these alternative onsite sewage systems has been approved by VDH based on their demonstrated effectiveness.

The approach encompassed in the new rules runs counter to our tradition of relying on citizen action unless the need for government intervention is conclusively proven. That’s not the case here.

Virginia homeowners are having enough trouble making ends meet without new and burdensome regulations that do not further the goal of improving public health. I will continue to stand up for my constituents by pushing VDH to demonstrate the need for these new rules and preferably, to withdraw them.

Interested persons should contact Allen Knapp, Director, Division of Onsite Sewage, Water Supplies, VHD – 109 Governor Street, 5th Floor, Richmond, VA 23219.

Bob Marshall


13th Legislative District

Virginia General Assembly