Cleaning up Sewer Law
If you're building a home, factors include location, size and style. Now, Callaway County developers and homeowners have to think about something else.
"Currently, Callaway County sewer ordinance goes along with the state ordinance," said Sharon Lynch, Callaway County health administrator. "And they have all the same provisions as the state of Missouri. We're trying to revise it currently."
Existing law requires you to have a permit to install a sewer system if you live on less than three acres. The revisions say new, single-family home construction on any acreage must have a permit to install a sewer system.
"The laws are not being followed here in the county, and we want to ensure that residents are protected," said Lee Fritz, presiding county commissioner.
The revisions also state you must have a permit for major sewer system repairs, which include replacing a septic tank or enlarging a lagoon. You also must have a soil test for your property to see which sewer system is best with a particular soil.
"When it's accessible to the surface, you have flies getting in it, you have animals getting in it, you have kids getting in it, and they can carry disease," Lynch explained.
Without the revisions, health administrators worry sewage could contaminate ground water and seep into the soil, harming humans and animals.
"What our main objective here is, to make sure that we don't have people with problems popping to the top, going across another property, or getting into the ground water," said Kent Wood, environmental health administrator.
The permit requirements will affect mostly developers because they will have to pay $150 for each one. But, developer Mike Horstman said it's not about the money.
"I think it'll be good in the long run," he said. "They need to get some control on what's going on as far as the sewers."
Horstman also said the revisions should not hurt his or any other business.
"I don't think it will affect our work that much," he explained. "We're still going to have to do the same process."
The new regulations start March 1.