The Chesapeake Bay septic tank pump-out initiative is a state-mandated program that requires regular septic tank pump-outs at least once every five years in most cases. The local regulations for this program appear under Article 6 of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Ordinance.
The local septic pump-out program implementation began in the fall of 2008 in the Smithfield Election District, followed by the Windsor in 2009 and Carrsville election district in 2010.
The remaining implementation schedule is as follows:
- Fall 2011 for the Hardy Election District
- Fall 2012 for the Newport Election District
The implementation consists of direct mailings from the Department of Planning and Zoning to homeowners with on-site septic tanks. The mailed package includes an introductory letter, the Septic Pump-Out Registration and Compliance form, and supporting information designed to help homeowners understand the need for routine septic tank pump-outs.
Once notified by the county, homeowners generally have two years to have a septic tank pump-out done. If there has been a pump-out within the past five years then the date of the next septic tank pump-out tracks from the date of that most recent pump-out.
Even the most efficient septic tank systems require routine pump-outs to maintain proper functioning. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends routine septic tank pump-outs every three to five years. Septic tanks need to be pumped out to remove the accumulated material and prevent problems that can lead to complete septic system failure. Routine septic tank pump-outs, along with proper management by the homeowner, can greatly extend the useful life of an on-site septic system.
The EPA estimates that 25 percent of all homes nationwide are served by on-site septic systems, with “most septic system failures related to inappropriate design and poor maintenance. Some soil-based systems (with a leach or drain field) have been installed at sites with inadequate or inappropriate soils, excessive slopes or high ground water tables. These conditions can cause hydraulic failures and water resource contamination. Failure to perform routine maintenance, such as pumping the septic tank every three to five years, can cause solids in the tank to migrate into the drain field and clog the system.”
More information can be found at the EPA’s On-Site Septic Systems page.
Isle of Wight County recognizes that the cost of a mandated program of septic tank pump-out can be prohibitive for households with limited or fixed incomes. The County strives to provide assistance in the form of outside grant funding to help cover the cost of septic pump-out for qualified households.
Visit 2010-2011 Septic Pump-Out Grant Assistance program for details and applications.
For more information, please contact:Kim E. Hummel, Environmental Planner (757) 357-9114 firstname.lastname@example.org