Increasing property owner compliance with the mandatory 5-year septic system inspection and/or septic tank pump-outs required under Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act (CBPA), related state regulations and local CBPA ordinances would help Virginia achieve its Chesapeake Bay TMDL goal to reduce Nitrogen (N). Moreover, better septic system maintenance could reduce bacteria pollutant loadings to meet local impaired stream TMDLs throughout the region. Through this study, researchers create spatial data files locating properties on sewer and septic, and examine public records of septic tank pump-outs and alternative septic system operating and maintenance services to delineate a potential spatial pattern of deferred or ignored septic maintenance. Chesapeake Bay TMDL data on septic sector BMPs are evaluated and revised for the WIP III process. Finally, authors define a program of targeted public education, financial incentives and regulatory enforcement efforts that could, if implemented, significantly affect higher compliance with CBPA pump-out ordinances and enhance local and regional water quality.
Full Plan with Appendices
In 2019, Virginia’s Department of Health in conjunction with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science conducted a study on failing septic systems in the coastal zone. They estimated that:
“Half of all septic systems in Virginia have some potential for contributing pollutant loads to already impaired waters.”