Septic Tank and Septic System Fees and Taxes – Are They Really Necessary?

Government mandated fees and taxes on septic tanks and septic systems have been a fact of life in some parts of the country for years. These fees and taxes are increasing, however, and many more local governments are contemplating levying them on their constituents that use septic tanks and septic systems. Are they really necessary?

The answer to this question, as it is with most controversial topics, is complex as there are many facets to consider. Every community seems to have a unique set of issues to deal with that become more volatile when factoring in personalities and political perspectives.

Some cases for septic tank and septic system fees and taxes can easily be justified. In Santa Cruz County in California, for example, there is a high concentration of septic systems in a watershed region heavily used for recreation. For public health reasons, the county has implemented a fee applied to every septic system to cover the costs of water quality sampling and testing. This makes sense as it takes time and money to collect the samples and have a certified lab perform the tests. What action plans are taken if there are poor results from these tests is unclear, but at least the public can be alerted to avoid contact with the water until testing determines the water quality has improved.

Other cases for the fees and taxes are not so compelling. Take, for example, Garfield Township of Michigan, which is considering a septic tank or system tax to pay for a money losing municipal waste treatment facility. Apparently, the municipal waste treatment facility is operating in the red and, in order to keep it running for the households connected to it, the local government wants to tax the people who do not use it! The funds collected from this tax will not go for septic system inspection, water testing or any other activity related to septic tanks or septic systems; it will pay off unfunded costs to operate the wastewater treatment plant. Predictably, public outcry is intense and the issue is still being debated.

Another example of questionable logic being used to raise taxes is in the country of Ireland. The cash strapped government is trying to apply higher taxes for septic system owners, apparently believing this is an untapped source of revenue. People potentially affected by the increase are angry and taking to the streets in protest.

Comments on these stories on various web pages range from supportive to outraged. People concerned about public health on recreational water fed by water tables populated by septic systems are supportive of the taxes, fees and water quality monitoring. This makes sense as water quality directly impacts the recreational activities.

The outraged comments come from people who live in the areas either experiencing or about to experience taxes levied for specious reasoning. In their opinion, they are bearing the full cost of managing and treating their sewage; the government does nothing to help them defray costs. They view government involvement and taxes as a nuisance. They argue that it is in their best interest to maintain a fully operable septic tank and septic system; septic tank and septic system problems cause their quality of life to deteriorate.

Other comments express anger at people who mistreat their septic system, causing the local government to enact broad base taxes, inspections and other invasive actions. This is an interesting point to consider. If all septic tank and septic system owners implemented septic system best practices along with a controlled aerobic conversion that Aero-Stream offers, the water quality of the water emitted from these systems would be so high that the government would have absolutely no reason to get involved or to justify a tax on septic tanks or septic systems.

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