Big brother is watching


Old 06-25-07, 01:17 PM
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Big brother is watching

My son bought a 6 year old house last year. It's 2400 s/f in a developement with 2 acre minimums. His lot is at the end of the developement and his nearest neighbor is about 500 yds away. Just two people in the house.

Along with his tax bill this year he got a letter from the town stating that his septic had not been pumped in 3 years and he had 60 days to get it pumped! The fine for failing to comply was $250 (the same as the cost for pumping) for each month of non compliance.

Just another example of government intrusion on private citizens.
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Old 06-25-07, 01:22 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
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He has the freedom to move and live wherever he wants.
Old 06-25-07, 04:34 PM
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Probably wouldn't be cost effective but I'd consider fighting that. A poorly designed or used septic system might need frequent pumping but I know of several tanks [including mine] that have worked flawlesly for many years and never pumped.

What do they base this requirement on?
Old 06-26-07, 06:11 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Cape Cod
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Not that I don't agree that it is another gov't intrusion on private citizens, I do
But there is a reason for this one

All septics need maintenance pumping
People don't do it
As long as the poop still goes away, people think everything is fine
Even to the point of knowing full well it's not working, and merely adjusting by not running the cloths washer and the dishwasher on the same day or that puddle appears in the lawn
Even with a large leach field, the tanks must be pumped free of that which didn't leach
Or it could eventually lead to back ups and/or even failure

Now, that's fine, you may say, it's my deal and my property

When an individuals septic is not working properly, it contaminates everyone's water
The build up in the individual's soil doesn't take long to leach out into water supply, marshes, soil....

So, failure to maintain becomes everyone's problem, with high levels of bacteria and beach closings
An individual may not care if their kids get hoof and mouth disease from playing in their yard, but when it spread to other yards, it's a community problem, and the individual is interfering with other's rights (to not have sewage laying about)

Now, going to every home and testing the soil, and performing a test on each individual septic system would be enormously expensive
So enforcement is much more cost effective if the pump companies report who and when they pumped
If the list shows it's been over a certain amount of time (in this case 3 years), send out a notice

This situation usually doesn't develop unless there have been problems with septic and ground/water contamination, or spot testing has shown a certain number of failed/contaminating systems
Sometimes this set-up an option to avoid building a sewer system (mandated by the regional authority, usually based on excessive failures/contamination in the area)

So, basically the bad apples (who didn't maintain) spoiled it for the rest of us
As the public welfare is involved (it affects all of us), the gov't had to step in
Old 06-26-07, 06:15 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Cape Cod
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"What do they base this requirement on?"

The pump companies must register with the town, who and when they pumped

"I know of several tanks [including mine] that have worked flawlesly for many years and never pumped."

That's the problem
Maybe we'd be good for ten years, someone else for two, or one

I'd say every 5 years myself
But I could see some families needing more often

If it's been ten years marksr, you might want to do it as a prevent defense if you know what I mean
Just to check in on there
Old 06-26-07, 06:45 AM
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IMO whenever a government entity imposes a fine such as this it's nothing more than another semi disguised tax. I wonder if the local septic company is one of the town selectman's brother in law.

I have owned homes with septic systems for nearly 40 years. I have never had a septic problem. My current tank is pumped at an interval (6 yrs)determined by my septic guy. The interval is based on family size, tank size, lot size etc. not on what some local "official" pulls out of thin air.
Old 06-26-07, 06:48 AM
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"He has the freedom to move and live wherever he wants."

Ouch! I thought this was a user friendly forum.
Old 06-26-07, 07:02 AM
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Big brother is watching

Sometimes there are requirements to protect people and their neighbors from their own lack of knowledge. Pumping out every three years is not unreasonable since few people know what is going on.

An improperly operating system can affect neigboring properties and water quality if there are wells, not to mention the land he just invested in.

Did your son look into the past system maintenance? Did he have it inspected? If he had, the previous owner would have had to do it.

There is no fine if the pumping that probably should have been done was done. I assume he will have it pumped out in the future anyway, so no big deal (cheap insurance). It could protect your son from a negligent previous owner and his own lack of diligence in the purchase. - "If it looks good on the surface, it must be good"???

Old 06-26-07, 10:23 AM
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Most of us know that septic tanks must be maintained. For me it's who decides the interval. A house with 6 kids and 3 adults on a small lot probably needs to get their tanked pumped more frequently than a working couple that's not at home all day.

I guess I look at it differently. To me it's akin to a local government telling me I must replace the tires on my car every 3 years no matter how many miles I drive. Or that my brakes have to be replaced at 40K miles no matter what the pad wear. All because some local bureaucrat says so.

Incidentally, I called the town offices of a couple of neighboring towns. None have the septic ordinance. Neither does my town. I called our public health nurse (20+ years on the job) - she knows of no incidence of illness in our town from a septic tank problem although she spent 15 minutes telling me a sad tale of when her tank backed up into their finished basement.

IMO just another case of intrusion where it wasn't needed.
Old 06-27-07, 12:55 AM
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Not being unfriendly, just realistic. I would not personally live in a HOA or any other community where I felt my rights etc, as a homeowner were being infringed upon or wrongfully or unduly influenced by anyone else, even the local government. Now if the septic needs the maintenance and is willfully neglected then fine away. Not saying his township is being unreasonable or fine happy, but I would be leary.

Again I say, nomatter what they try to do, he has the right as an American, to move and live wherever he wants. Not sure how this is being unfriendly.
Old 06-29-07, 05:54 PM
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I've lived in my home for 18 years and have never do anything other than dump some yeast down the toilet a couple of times a year. So far I have had absolutely no problems.
My home was built in 1916 and the septic system was installed new in 1959. I'm guessing because the water from the bath, washer and kitchen are routed around the septic tank and dumped into the lines afterwards that the detergents don't kill the enzime which keeps things in working order.
My new neighbor put in a filter pit after the septic where the sewer is leached out at the top under about three feet of clay and is filtered through six alternating layers of pee gravel and washed sand each a foot thick then out the bottom through perferated tile.
Finally there is a removeable filter in the tile below the filter pit and before the 1500 feet of leach bed. All of this cost him about 25,000 but is never supposed to need anything other than an occasional filter rinse. Like I'm not gonna be the one rinsing that thing. Screw that.
Old 06-29-07, 06:49 PM
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Angry Letters from the town...

"letter from the town stating that his septic had not been pumped in 3 years and he had 60 days to get it pumped!" (cwbuff) and "I would not personally live in a HOA or any other community where I felt my rights etc, as a homeowner were being infringed" (Shooter)

Did others in your area get the letter too?
My community association has been insane this year. They sent letters (to me and almost every neighbor around) about 3 times a month since February, pointing out different things, like "It looks like your front lawn near the driveway needs weeding", "the hedge has not been trimmed recently", "the proper way to keep the area around trees is to create a mound of mulch to keep moisture in and save water. You must remove all grass around trunk and fix the problem" Or else: for not mowing when they feel my grass is too tall (more than 1", it seems) the fee is $250, wich will accrue interest if not paid... sound like somebody deared to ignore them
I share you pain, believe me. I am furious at them, because not only are they obnoxious, but they begun to CHARGE US $15-25 for their certified [email protected]#$%&*
It seems that we have an ex-Gestapo-COD neighbor nearby, because otherwise I can't explain so much detailed information about each individual yard in a community of 80,000. Isn't this harassment? I am looking into that...
I am very vocal (respectfully, but clearly and powerfully), and they know me by first name in their office, but mail has only slowed down, not stopped yet.

I did move to this "designed" community because in this whole part of the state this one was by far the best rated school district, and with youngsters in toll, this was important to me. I knew there were deed restrictions (as an architect I hated those) but was never introduced to the full text, which seems to be edited by the minute, judging by the letters we get. Yet, things have changed in 10 years: population doubled, crime increased exponentially, and schools proved to be just the ad for the development-- not as good as they painted it (allways understaffed, underequipped, and overpopulated)

Freedom? To a certain extent... children's academic and social continuity is important in these everchanging times. So just for now, and grinding my teeth, I may hold on, just enough so they can graduate... then, give me a few acres and a horse (both prohibited here) and I will be free!
Old 07-01-07, 07:26 AM
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Airedale - This is a non HOA developement. The "pump your tank" letter was issued by the town government.

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