Monday, June 17, 2013

Call To Action - Septic Systems in Pennsylvania - House Bill 1325 On-Lot sewage systems in HQ & EV Watersheds.

Get Informed about Pennsylvania D.E.P's proposed policy for On-Lot sewage systems in HQ & EV Watersheds.

House Bill 1325 successfully passed the State House of Representatives last week! You can view how your legislator voted - here.
However, that's only half the battle. Your help is now needed to ensure that the State Senate takes up this important legislation and likewise passes it before they recess for the summer.
Therefore, PASEO needs you to contact your State Senator and urge them to vote "yes" on House Bill 1325 when it comes before the full chamber.

Who's my State Senator and what is their contact information? Find your legislator here.

As you recall, this is the legislation that provides a "legislative fix" to the Pine Creek decision and eliminates the need for DEP's draft antidegredation policy for new onlot sewage systems proposed in special protection watersheds.

HB 1325, sponsored by Rep. David Maloney (R-Berks), will amend Act 537 to stipulate that permits for individual and community onlot systems that are designed & approved in accordance with existing DEP regulations will be deemed to have satified antidegredation requirements.
Without passage of this legislation, DEP's draft policy guidance entitled: "Sewage Facilities Planning Module Review for Onlot Sewage systems Proposed in High Quality and Exceptional Value Watersheds" will likely go into effect negatively impacting the use of onlot systems in High Quality & Exceptional Value watersheds. Click here to read the proposed guidance document.

When communicating with your State Senator (by phone, fax, or email), you will want to indicate that s/he should vote "yes" on HB 1325 when it comes up for a floor vote because:
1) It will return onlot system planning and installation considerations for Nitrates to the practices utilized prior to the PA Environmental Hearing Board's 2011 Pine Creek decision.
2) It recognizes that properly designed, installed and maintained onlot sewage treatment systems meet anti-degradation requirements. There is insufficient evidence to support the notion that stream quality is being degraded by properly designed, installed and maintained onlot systems.
3) Most of the Best Management Practices (BMPs) found in the draft guidance document are neither cost effective nor reasonable. Based on costs cited in the document and our experience with the cost of denitrification systems in PA, it is possible that an individual lot could incur costs of nearly $25,000 without considering the additional design, engineering and regulatory costs, both known and as of yet unknown. Commercial facilities could see these costs increase by a factor of 10 above those for residential uses.
4) It contains legislative language supported by PA DEP as well as PASEO.
Thank you for your anticipated support of HB 1325!

If you have NO idea if this is an issue for you let me say the following 1. If you live in a rural area - it is an issue. 2. If you currently use a septic system - it is an issue. 3. If you own property in a rural area - that if developed would require a septic system it is an issue.   Learn More at Check out our Presentation at Responsible Citizens for Clean Water- Get Informed about Pennsylvania D.E.P's proposed policy for On-Lot sewage systems in HQ & EV Watersheds.

Proposed PADEP Policy on Nitrates and Septic Systems in PA- Proposed Requlations and Our Blog Post, Our Presentation to County Governments, Our Review of PADEP Myth and Fact On the Proposed Guidance and Formal Comments to PADEP (May 2013)


  1. Success
    Today, Gov. Tom Corbett signed into law Act 41 of 2013 (previously House Bill 1325) amending the Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act (aka Act 537).

    Enactment of this law was a legislative priority for PASEO. Thank you to all members who sent letters of support for the bill, worked with the Department, and supported key legislators in moving HB1325.

    The new law provides the sewage planning community with greater certainty when conducting planning reviews and issuing permits for systems in High Quality or Exceptional Value watersheds by allowing them to rely on existing standards found in Act 537.

    Specifically, the new law amends Act 537 to categorically state that “[f]or permits for individual on-lot sewage systems and community on-lot sewage systems, the use of such systems when designed and approved in accordance with the requirements of this act and the regulations promulgated under this act satisfies the antidegradation requirements of the act of June 22, 1937 (P.L.1987, No.394), known as ‘The Clean Streams Law,’ and the regulations promulgated under that act.” View the full text HERE .

    Consequently, PA DEP has acknowledged that there is no longer a need to continue development of the draft antidegradation technical guidance document that it proposed earlier this year.

    The new law takes effect immediately.

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