April 27, 2012 Governor Rick Scott signed House Bill 1263 into law. The new bill calls for a restructure of the department of health and includes important changes that septic tank owners should be aware of. While the bill repealed the statewide requirement for septic tank inspections, it does encourage and incentivize counties and municipalities throughout the state to adopt requirements for onsite sewage treatment through local programs. Counties can also opt out of the program. The law outlines the requirements for these programs.

Septic Tank & Drainfield Evaluation & Written Assessment: Evaluations of each onsite sewage treatment and disposal system must take place every 5 years to identify system failures and assess fundamental operational condition of the system.
Evaluations must be performed by qualified contractors: including septic tank contractors, their authorized employees, professional engineers or certified environmental health professionals. Evaluation documents must be signed by the qualified contractor in writing.
Repairs may only be required if a system failure is identified, where untreated or partially treated sewage is being discharged onto ground surface or into surface water that results in plumbing failure or sanitary nuisance.

Frequently Asked Questions:

If my county chooses to adopt a septic system evaluation program, what would an evaluation require?
It will include a tank pump out and certification of the tank. It will also call for an evaluation of your drainfields size, placement and state of upkeep. If you wish, you may also ask for a check of the system’s pumps and alarms.
I am a property owner with a septic system. When should my septic system need a repair or upgrade?
Repairs are required when a failure occurs.

What does a septic system evaluation cost?
Each contractor sets their own price. The price may vary based on the size and complexity of your system. A contractor will also factor in the cost of your areas sewage disposal. A typical pump out for a standard 1,000 gallon septic tank costs around $250. Local government will set fees for who? to submit the evaluation report. You should expect the total cost to be around $500 – $600.
If my septic system is in failure what will it cost for a repair?
Cost for repairs will vary. It depends on the work needed to repair the system. It could mean you need to replace your tank. It could mean you must replace your entire system. Costs for repairs could range from $1000 to $10,000.
Is a pump-out of my septic tank required during the evaluation?
Yes, however, a pump-out is not required if your tanks have been pumped and certified sometime in the last five years.
Click here for more answers to frequently asked questions.

Because of the incentives and credits being offered by the state government at the local level, we expect that Southwest Florida officials will take advantage of Septic Tank Maintenance Programs. While local officials are aware of the new law, no specific changes to local ordinances have been made at the county or city level, nor have officials voted to opt out of the program. We will keep you informed of changes to requirements as we learn them. In the meantime, learn more about the importance of septic tank maintenance or schedule a septic pump-out by contacting our septic professionals.

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