"Clean water starts in your own back yard" has more meaning today than ever before. On Thursday, April 3rd Governor Chet Culver signed the Bill SF 261.
This will require that septic systems be inspected and if substantially noncompliant be brought to code when the property transfers. The Bill becomes effective July 1, 2009.
Although the rules are not written yet, there are some very basic rules that will be in the standards. First, the tank will need to be a watertight two compartment tank. Many of the older tanks were single compartment or a series of two or three bottomless tile. Neither of which will pass an inspection.
Today many septic systems discharge to either the road ditch or a tile line. These systems are not legal and need to be updated. Even under the current rules these systems can be required to be brought to standards.
The third area that will cause issues is the setback requirements. Some of which include:
Drainfeild: 100 feet from a lake, 100 feet from a well, 10 from a tile line, 25 feet from a pond or creek, 10 feet from a property line, and 3 feet from the high water table. Septic Tank : 50 feet from a lake, 50 feet from a well, 10 feet from a water line and 25 feet from a creek or pond.
Buena Vista County has some unique and interesting qualities. First we have the beginnings of three rivers. The Raccoon, which the City of Des Moines get most of it drinking water, the Maple and the Boyer both discharge into the Might MO which the Cities of Council Bluffs and Omaha get most of their drinking water. In addition the Little Sioux River Valley has some of our most beautiful and interesting natural areas. We have Storm Lake which the City of Storm Lake has put millions of dollars in and around to upgrade. The DNR is spending more on a new marina and upgrading Little Storm Lake. We have some very nice and clean parks and wildlife areas including Sturchler and Gabrielson. We have towns like Newell, Truesdale and Alta all working on improving their wastewater treatment.
We as a County need to decide how we wish to undertake the issues ahead of us. The County will be holding informational meetings for the public starting later this month.