New California Regulations Target Septic Tank Systems

California’s State Water Resources Control Board recently revised the statutes governing onsite wastewater treatment systems, more commonly known as septic tanks. These new rules are intended to provide added guidance for homeowners, home builders and septic tank repair companies in managing the installation and upkeep of these household waste treatment systems.

Existing septic tank systems that exhibit no current problems are generally not affected by these changes and can continue to operate normally.

Tiers of Risk

The changes to California’s septic system laws divide proposed and current onsite wastewater treatment systems into five separate tiers:

    • Tier 0 is reserved for existing septic systems that are currently in a good state of repair and pose no known threat to local water supplies or to the environment.
    • Tier 1 refers to new or replacement systems in low risk areas where no Local Agency Management Program has been instituted.
    • Tier 2 regions are overseen by Local Agency Management Programs and represent a moderate risk profile for new and replacement septic tank systems.
    • Tier 3 installation requirements are much more stringent than the other tiers due to existing pollution or contamination of nearby bodies of water.
    • Tier 4 is reserved for existing septic systems that are currently in a state of disrepair or that are causing environmental damage due to effluent seepage or runoff. This tier receives the highest degree of governmental oversight and governance.

By maintaining their current septic systems and ensuring that they are operating at peak efficiency, homeowners can avoid Tier 4 restrictions and the increased costs and replacement requirements of this regulatory category.

Staying in Tier 0

Taking steps to increase the processing efficiency of private septic systems can help California homeowners avoid fines and stricter requirements for replacement. In many cases, installing an aerobic system can extend the useful life of these home wastewater treatment plants and can remediate a number of septic tank problems before they lead to system failure. A septic aerator can boost the efficiency of the in-tank decomposition process and reduce the risks of environmental damage from runoff, seepage or surface effluent dispersal.

California homeowners can reduce the risks of governmental scrutiny and added expenses by making an investment in an advanced aeration system and putting the power of positive aerobic bacteria to work for their septic tank system.

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