Apr 2, 2012

Darke County Septic System Update


GREENVILLE--The Darke County Health Department would like to update homeowners on the Operation & Maintenance (O/M) Permitting Program.  The O/M program promotes a proactive and preventive approach to managing home sewage treatment systems. 
Over the past several decades residential septic system installation has evolved into a complex program for homeowners, installers, and inspectors.  Due to an increased interest in how we treat our environment, failing septic systems have been identified as a major groundwater pollutant. The concern is what happens to the septic system after it is installed?  Does the homeowner know how to identify problems when their system is failing?  If the homeowner does identify a problem, will they fix it? 
The laws for installing a home septic system have become more stringent over the years, but the problem of existing systems is just now being addressed.  Every homeowner in the state of Ohio including Darke County is required by law to have an Operational Permit to operate their sewage treatment system (OAC 3701-29-04(B)). 
Since the Darke County Health Department did not require O/M Permit renewals until 2007, most homes in the county have not been inspected under this program.  However, since 2007, homes have slowly been added to the inspection program.  As of now, most of the homes being placed under the operational permit inspection program are those who have installed a new sewage treatment system, updated or altered their existing sewage treatment system, been involved in a complaint investigation, have went through the special service process, are in a cluster of homes, or have aerators that were mapped beginning summer 2009.
Since aeration and mound systems have mechanical parts, they are inspected once a year, either by the Health Department or by a Service Provider.  The O/M renewal fee for homes with aeration or mound systems is $100 for two years.  If the homeowner hires a third party Service Provider, the O/M renewal fee is $10 for two years.  The Health Department does not perform any maintenance on the system; therefore, it is suggested that the homeowner contract with a service provider who may do maintenance while they perform their inspections.  This will increase the life of the system. 
Leachfields are lower maintenance than aerators and do not discharge off-lot; therefore, they are inspected once every 5 years.  The O/M renewal fee for homes with leachfields is $75 for five years or $15 a year. 
Subsurface sand filters and dry wells are septic systems that discharge by design or off-lot to field tiles.  They do not contain mechanical parts; therefore, they are inspected once every three years.  The O/M renewal fee for homes with subsurface sand filters and dry wells is $100 for three years. 
The state wants every system under this program: however, this would place a heavy burden on local health districts because it would be impossible to put every household under this program all at once due to the large number of systems in the county.  Therefore, households will be slowly added to the program.
For more information on the O/M program, or for a list of Service Providers, please contact the Health Department at 548-4196 ext. 209 or visit www.darkecountyhealth.gov.
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Health Dept. to
continue inventory
HARRISON TOWNSHIP--In 2008, the Darke County Health Department completed the inventory of septic tanks and wells for the Stillwater Watershed area. The Health Department is in the process of completing the inventory for the remaining portions of Darke County not previously mapped.  The Health Department would like to make residents aware that over the next several months, representatives from the Health Department will be in Harrison Township to GPS the locations of septic tanks and wells. If you have questions regarding the inventorying of septic systems and wells, please contact the Health Department at 548-4196 ext. 209.

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