The February DLWID meeting occurred Monday February 8, 2010. It was a 4 1/2 hour marathon. About 20 people attended the meeting.
Lincoln County Sanitarian and his entire crew (2 people) attended the meeting and gave a very informative presentation. He did indicate that there was a limited impact we could have on the quality of the lake water. He did not think we would find many failing systems. He further said that even the best systems are going to spill nutrients into the lake because of the water table, rainfall and proximity to the lake. He said the rainfall alone places many nutrients in the lake.
Mark Christie submitted a letter signed by 41 lake residents requesting involvement by the public in the process of creating a septic program. This proposal did seem to be picked up in the final resolution passed by the DLWID board.
Eventually the board passed a second resolution related to the septic program. The recommendations contained in the resolution for inclusion for inspection ordinance include;
- All septic systems in the watershed that do not have a record on file with the county.
- All septic systems in the watershed with tanks made of materials other than steel that have not had repair or replacement in the last 25 years.
- All septic systems in the watershed with steel tanks greater than 10 years old.
- Priority for inspection shall be placed on properties within 250’ of Devils Lake or tributaries to the lake. Those properties shall have their inspections within 24 months of the passing of the ordinance.
- Secondary priority for inspection shall be all other properties in the watershed meeting the above criteria. These properties would have up to five years to complete the inspection.
- That the program shall allow for a property owner to provide historical evidence of a recent inspection in lieu of obtaining an inspection currently.
- The ordinance would not sunset, and as properties passed the 10 or 25 year thresholds, they would be required to get an inspection within a given timeframe.
- That DEQ certified, bonded & insured inspectors also be eligible to do inspections with the provision that those contractors would be barred from making repairs.
- That the Devils Lake Water Improvement District with existing stakeholders develop the criteria for the inspections.
- That property owners affected by the ordinance be considered part of the stakeholders who further develop a draft ordinance.
- That Vacation Rental Dwellings continue to be an allowed use of onsite systems, but potentially with specialized criteria of increased inspection or pumping.
- DLWID board and staff look forward to working with the public, City of Lincoln City, and other regulatory agencies to ensure that the program accomplishes the goal of identification and correction of failing septic tanks in the watershed.