Posted by: realtormarkpalace | May 10, 2012

New Fla. web page explains septic tank law

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – May 9, 2012 – The Florida Department of Health (DOH) unveiled a new website designed to help Floridians and local governments understand new septic tank requirements outlined in House Bill 1263, which the Florida Legislature passed earlier this year. Florida Realtors backed the change, which eases a mandatory septic tank inspection.

The new law gives local governments flexibility, though that means septic tank laws can change from county-to-county. To help Floridians and local governments understand the new rules, the DOH developed an informational webpage with information on services and how the law may impact their areas.

Previously, inspection of a septic tank was required every five years; but the new law gives local governments a choice on adopting an evaluation program for their area. Some counties – those with a “first magnitude spring” must decide how to handle septic tank inspections by Jan. 1, 2013. All other counties may choose to adopt an evaluation program at anytime.

A spring is any point where water rises to the surface from underground. A first-magnitude spring is a large one, generally identified as one that discharges at least 100 cubic feet of water per second or almost 65 million gallons each day. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection lists 33 first magnitude springs in 19 counties: Alachua, Bay, Citrus, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Hernando, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lake, Leon, Levy, Madison, Marion, Suwannee, Volusia and Wakulla. It also lists first magnitude springs in three cities: High Springs, Fanning Springs and Weeki Wachee.

So far, only one county with a first magnitude spring has opted out of septic tank inspections. Hernando County, home to Weeki Wachee Springs, voted yesterday to nix inspections, though the issue could be revisited.

If a local government favors septic tank inspections, the law outlines the way it should be done and the mandatory qualifications for an inspector.

For more information, visit the Florida Department of Health webpage or call your county or city commission, or local county health department.

© 2012 Florida Realtors®

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