The Conservation Beat
10:01 pm
Wed February 15, 2012

Bernalillo County Considers Mandatory Septic System Inspections

The Bernalillo County Commission is holding a series of public meetings, including one tonight, on a proposal to require inspection of aging septic systems.

the aquifer, revealed! on our blog: earth air waves

The measure would apply to septic systems that are at least 30 years old.  The first batch—about 450 according to official estimates—would need to be evaluated by the end of 2015.  By 2030, about 2,000 systems would be effected.  Systems found to be leaking would have to be repaired or replaced.

Commissioner Maggie Hart Stebbins is sponsoring the proposal.  She says if a tank is working properly, nothing more is required for five years.  "But we do feel that it is important to identify these tanks that are leaking raw sewage into the aquifer and make sure that they get repaired."

She says leaking septic systems are the number one cause of groundwater pollution in Bernalillo County.

Officials say the inspections would cost homeowners $300-400 dollars.  Replacing a system could cost anywhere from $6,000- $30,000. 

Commissioner Wayne Johnson, who represents the majority of county homeowners with septic systems, says he’d prefer to hold off on a new county ordinance until the state finishes updating its own septic standards.

The commission is expected to vote on the issue at its March 13 meeting.

Find the list of public listening sessions here.