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Supervisors to hold first hearing on new Ordinance 61

Published: Monday, April 8, 2013 11:22 a.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, April 8, 2013 11:36 a.m. CDT

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When the Jasper County Board of Supervisors meets Tuesday, the board will hold its first of three public hearings on the new version of Ordinance 61.

The previous version of Ordinance 61 proved to be very unpopular with citizens. Among the aspects of the original draft of the ordinance citizens took issue with was a 200-foot rule that would require citizens whose property lines were within 200 feet of a rural system to tap into that system. Other issues of note were the $50 fee/permit to repair a distributor box and requiring home owners to be licensed to install a new septic tank.

According to the resolution of the new Ordinance 61 drafted by Jasper County Sanitarian Kevin Luetters:

“An ordinance repealing ordinances, 52, 53, 54, 55, 55A and 56 in their entirety, and replacing them with the following comprehensive regulations for the use, design, installation, maintenance, and replacement of all on-site wastewater treatment and disposal systems in all incorporated and unincorporated areas of Jasper County, and providing for and the administration and enforcement thereof.”

If approved the new Ordinance 61 would take effect on May 1. The purpose of the ordinance according to the resolution would regulate the design, instillation, alteration, repairs, relocation, replacement, addition to, use or maintenance of on-site wastewater treatment systems. Ordinance 61 would allow owners who already have an OWTS in place to be grandfathered in. However, if an OWTS is deemed unsafe, it would be considered in violation of the ordinance. To be declared unsafe, an OWTS has to be considered a health or environmental hazard, declared unsafe to human life or creates a nuisance.

Other additions would be the permit rule. Anyone who wants to install, alter or repair an OTWS would need a permit and to do so without a permit would be considered in violation of the ordinance. The permit would be good for one calendar year, unless work is started and stopped within a 10-day time frame. Applications for instillation and repair deemed in violation of the ordinance can be rejected.

In addition, to perform any OWTS work, a person would have to be licensed through the state as a plumbing contractor or journeyman, the National Environmental Health Association, or have passed the Certified Install of On-site Wastewater Treatment Systems exam.

The resolution would also create an enforcement agency known as the Jasper County Environmental Health Department. The director of this new agency would have the power to declare an OWTS a safety hazard. The position would be appointed by the chief appointing authority of the jurisdiction.

According to the resolution, the director would also have permission to enter the structure of premises at reasonable times to inspect or perform the duties imposed by this ordinance. The director would also have authority to render interpretations of the ordinance, to adopt and promulgate rules and regulations and to designate requirements.

Staff writer Ty Rushing may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 426, or at trushing@newtondailynews.com.

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