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Placer County Board of Supervisors opposes California septic system inspections, fees

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Foes of a plan to force property owners to pay $325 every five years as part of a statewide septic system inspection program found support at the Placer County Board of Supervisors. An estimated 50 people applauded loudly in support of speakers critical of the State Water Resources Control Board proposal to institute mandatory inspections on 1.2 million property owners with onsite sewage treatment. That total includes an estimated 26,000 septic sites in Placer County. The group found strong support from supervisors in their opposition to proposed state regulations that would go into effect by mid-year 2010. No one spoke for the regulations, which are designed to help implement legislation passed by the state eight years ago to protect rivers and lakes from septic effluent seeping from failed systems. Speaker after speaker denounced the draft plan, which goes before the state board Feb. 9 in Sacramento for a final hearing. Many said they’d be at the hearing to attempt to keep the inspections and charges from being instituted. Auburn’s Ron Blair expressed pleasure after all five supervisors spoke against the proposal. “I came here to fight the dragon and there is none – at least not at this board,” Blair said. Wally Reemelin, president of the League of Placer County Taxpayers, described the state proposal as too onerous and not scientific enough. “It’s a shotgun, when you need a real accurate thing aimed at what the target is,” Reemelin said. Reemelin said he’ll be at the Feb. 9 hearing. Newly elected Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery, who represents the eastern 5th District on the board, said she plans to be at the hearing too. Montgomery described the initial bill approved in 2000 as well-intentioned but the proposed rules as “intrusive, expensive and unneeded.” Supervisor Jim Holmes, who represents the Auburn area, said the proposal was “intrusive and unnecessary.” He said he’ll join other Regional Association of Rural Counties members lobbying state legislators on Thursday to use their influence to move the control board’s rules away from costly septic system inspections. Kirk Uhler said that he felt opponents of the inspection plan would find 4th District Assemblyman Ted Gaines, R-Roseville, 1st District state Sen. Dave Cox, R-Fair Oaks, and 2nd District Assemblyman Dan Logue, R-Linda, a “receptive audience” to their concerns. Supervisors Rocky Rockholm and Robert Weygandt also said they were against the inspections and fees. “It’s another case of if it isn’t broken there’s no need to fix it,” Rockholm said. “I’m not on a septic system but this is too intrusive, ridiculous – we don’t need this.” The supervisors will be sending a letter to the control board citing their objections to the inspection plan. The Journal’s Gus Thomson can be reached at gust@goldcountrymedia.com. ________________________________________ Fast facts: Timeline on state septic system plans Jan. 27 – Placer County supervisors decide to oppose inspections and fees proposed by State Water Resources Control Board Feb. 9 – State’s public hearing and comment period ends on draft. Hearing in Sacramento February to August – State prepares comment responses and revises regulations August – Comment period on revisions Jan. 1, 2010 – New regulations to go into effect July 1, 2010 – Proposed inspections and fees could start to be implemented