DLWID and City Compromise on Septics

On Monday March 1st, DLWID and Lincoln City met to discuss differences between the district’s and the City’s ideas related to a septic inspection program.  The group created a draft of compromises and the outcome was reported to be very productive.

In attendance were: Mayor Lori Hollingsworth, DLWID Chair Brian Green, City Councilor Chester Noreikis, City Councilor Gary Ellingson, City Manager David Hawker, Lake Manager Paul Robertson, DLWID Intern Seth Lenaerts.

The tone of the meeting was said to be very positive with all parties looking to move forward on this issue and to create a meaningful ordinance to assure that septic systems within the Devils Lake watershed are functioning to design.

The meeting produced eight basic concepts that will guide the City Attorney in developing the language of the draft ordinance.  The DLWID has requested that local residents impacted by this ordinance be provided an opportunity to comment on the language of the draft as well as express concerns as to how the ordinance will be implemented.  To that end the district plans to schedule at least one meeting when the draft is available.  The ordinance will be based on the following guiding principles;

1.  All properties in the watershed on city water without sewer would be required to have an inspection every ten years for continued water service.

2. The time frame of the initial inspection would be defined by ordinance and would be sequential considering the type of tank listed in the county record, age, distance from the lake, and if there was no record with the county.  By way of example only:

Year one – all systems bordering the lake,  for which there is no county record or the record indicates a steel tank older than 10 years.

Year two – all other systems in the watershed where there is no county record or the record shows a tank older than 25 years.

Year three – all other systems in the watershed where the county record shows the tank older than 15 years.

Year four – all systems in the watershed older than ten years.

This is simply an example.  The sequence in the ordinance will be defined by further discussions, based on any available science on failure trends, and to balance the actual load.  It is anticipated that the ordinance itself will list each property covered, and the year of the required inspection.  A delay of one year will be permitted for good cause shown.

3. The next inspection for the properties will be ten years after the year the first inspection is required.

4. The inspection will be done by a contractor selected by the City with due consideration on the recommendation of the DLWID.  It is anticipated that this will be a private contractor selected based on the response to a request for proposals, and considering price, availability, qualifications, and reference checks.

5. The RFP will be prepared jointly by the City and DLWID, and will include the specific inspection requirements.  It is anticipated that the annual inspections will occur only during two months (August and September) which will allow a better inspection and lower cost.

6. The inspection will include pumping the tank only if the inspector determines it is beneficial based on a physical inspection, available records of the last pumping, and average annual water consumption.

7. Copies of the inspection report will go to the property owner, County, DLWID and City.

8. Additional public input, outside of the two public comment periods at City Council meetings and DLWID board meetings will be organized by DLWID.

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