Sunday, 19 May 2024

Water board sets new hearing for septic tank rules

NORTH COAST – The State Water Resources Control Board will hold a new meeting for North Coast residents on proposed septic tank regulations after a Tuesday meeting was unexpectedly shut down.


The state is offering a new set of rules under AB 885 that would require inspections of septic systems at least once every five years, and also could require some people to replace their systems, costs which could run into the tens of thousands, according to opponents of the measure.


A meeting had been set for Tuesday evening at the Wells Fargo Center in Santa Rosa, as Lake County News reported earlier this week.


However, when hundreds of people showed up, with traffic backing up out onto Highway 101 and people standing in aisles and doorways, the meeting was shut down.


Chuck March, executive director of the Lake County Farm Bureau, attended the very short meeting, which he said only ran about 15 minutes before it was stopped.


“A lot of people were pretty upset,” said March, who noted that a water board official was about three pages into a PowerPoint presentation before the meeting was halted.


March noted that people “from all walks of life” had crowded into the meeting to hear what the state is proposing.


Ray Ruminski, director of Lake County Environmental Health, also attended with some of his staffers, and recounted the many people jammed into the auditorium and out into the hallway and lobby.


He said he didn't think the water board could have foreseen such a huge crowd turning out.


Both Ruminski and March said it was a fire official who ultimately stopped the proceedings.


Water board spokesperson Kathie Smith said in response to the cancellation two new meetings have been scheduled in Santa Rosa on Feb. 9, in the Ruth Finley Person Theater – which has a 1,500-person capacity – at the Wells Fargo Center, 50 Mark West Springs Road.


The first session will take place from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., the second from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Smith said both meetings will present identical information.


Feb. 9 was the original date for a public hearing in Sacramento that the State Water Resources Control Board had planned. That hearing has been postponed, Smith said.


The state also has extended the comment period on the regulations, from Feb. 9 to noon on Feb. 23.


Written comments may be sent to Todd Thompson, PE, Division of Water Quality, State Water Resources Control Board, 1001 I St., P.O. Box 2231, Sacramento, CA 95812; fax, 916-341-5463; e-mail, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Questions about the public comments also can be directed to Thompson at 916-341-5518 or to Gita Kapahi, director of public participation, at 916-341-5501.


To see the proposed regulations and other background information, visit www.waterboards.ca.gov/water_issues/programs/septic_tanks/.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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