Some Counties Are Changing Regulations for Septic Systems

One county in Illinois is looking to reverse a number of regulations controlling how and where septic systems can be installed and how they function. If these changes catch on in other parts of the country, it could mean big changes in how companies like yours do business. Whether those changes will be good or bad for septic service companies will take time to see. But we will watch the situation closely as it develops.

In some areas, the changes have already gone into effect, simplifying septic installations and repair for entire communities.

Swimming Hole Setback Reduction

The first and most controversial of these changes is the distance septic units will need to be installed from public swimming holes. The previous distance of 150 feet is being reduced to 25 feet. While this opens up a heck of a lot of opportunity for builders and homeowners, it has definitely set off sparks over concern for local bodies of water.

One local official from North Peoria said, “If you look at the state code, there isn’t a setback distance to swimming bodies of water. The reason for that being that discharge is disinfected before going to the ground surface.”

The good news is that testing requirements for public bodies of water in Illinois are still pretty strict. Therefore, if contamination levels become too high, or God forbid, become detectable to the human senses, there may still be time to reverse it.

Still, it will ease construction limitations on developers.

Inspections Now Optional for Real Estate

At present, real estate professionals are required to perform inspections on septic systems before a piece of property may change hands. That too will change after the regulations are revised. At present, Tazewell county is the only county in Illinois where this requirement is still on the books.

This may indicate a disturbing trend for property buyers, and for the rest of the country if this trend spreads. For one thing, property buyers will have to pay for their own septic inspections before they buy. Many new homeowners are likely to be unaware of the importance of septic inspections prior to a new purchase.

For the septic industry, it won’t change much. It may mean less business for septic service companies until the need for inspections before buying property is more well-known. But when public awareness catches up, it will only change where this type of business comes from, not its value or the demand.

Our local contact on this issue said the same thing. He said, that the intention of this change is to make septic inspection the responsibility of the buyer. Granted, there may be circumstances where such inspections are unnecessary, particularly when the changing of hands is between family or partners.

But the one effect of this change that’s certain is that it will make the real estate market tougher for buyers and easier for sellers.

Public Awareness

In Tazewell County, ground zero for changes of this kind, the public had the chance to hear the full list of regulatory revisions on February 13th between the hours of 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. at the Tazewell County Health Department building.

In conclusion

For the septic service industry, Tazewell county may be the testing ground for regulatory changes that will affect the public. For septic service providers, the changes are something of a mixed bag.

Certainly, the relaxation of swimming pool easement requirements will make construction decisions simpler. Also, real estate agents and property sellers will love not having to have their tanks inspected.


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