Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act (see number 7, as it pertains to septic maintenance)


Database updated through 20:24 Va.R. August 9, 2004


9VAC10-20-120. General performance criteria.

Through their applicable land use ordinances, regulations and enforcement mechanisms, local governments shall require that any use, development or redevelopment of land in Chesapeake Bay Preservation Areas meets the following performance criteria:

1. No more land shall be disturbed than is necessary to provide for the proposed use or development.

2. Indigenous vegetation shall be preserved to the maximum extent practicable, consistent with the use or development proposed.

3. Where the best management practices utilized require regular or periodic maintenance in order to continue their functions, such maintenance shall be ensured by the local government through a maintenance agreement with the owner or developer or some other mechanism that achieves an equivalent objective.

4. All development exceeding 2,500 square feet of land disturbance shall be accomplished through a plan of development review process consistent with 15.2-2286 A 8 of the Code of Virginia and subdivision 1 e of 9VAC10-20-231.

5. Land development shall minimize impervious cover consistent with the proposed use or development.

6. Any land disturbing activity that exceeds an area of 2,500 square feet (including construction of all single family houses, septic tanks and drainfields, but otherwise as defined in 10.1-560 of the Code of Virginia) shall comply with the requirements of the local erosion and sediment control ordinance.

**7. On-site sewage treatment systems not requiring a Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (VPDES) permit shall:

a. Have pump-out accomplished for all such systems at least once every five years.

(1) If deemed appropriate by the local health department and subject to conditions the local health department may set, local governments may offer to the owners of such systems, as an alternative to the mandatory pump-out, the option of having a plastic filter installed and maintained in the outflow pipe from the septic tank to filter solid material from the effluent while sustaining adequate flow to the drainfield to permit normal use of the septic system. Such a filter should satisfy standards established in the Sewage Handling and Disposal Regulations (12VAC5-610) administered by the Virginia Department of Health.

(2) Furthermore, in lieu of requiring proof of septic tank pump-out every five years, local governments may allow owners of on-site sewage treatment systems to submit documentation every five years, certified by a sewage handler permitted by the Virginia Department of Health, that the septic system has been inspected, is functioning properly, and the tank does not need to have the effluent pumped out of it.

b. For new construction, provide a reserve sewage disposal site with a capacity at least equal to that of the primary sewage disposal site. This reserve sewage disposal site requirement shall not apply to any lot or parcel recorded prior to October 1, 1989, if the lot or parcel is not sufficient in capacity to accommodate a reserve sewage disposal site, as determined by the local health department. Building shall be prohibited on the area of all sewage disposal sites until the structure is served by public sewer or an on-site sewage treatment system which operates under a permit issued by the State Water Control Board. All sewage disposal site records shall be administered to provide adequate notice and enforcement. As an alternative to the 100% reserve sewage disposal site, local governments may offer the owners of such systems the option of installing an alternating drainfield system meeting the following conditions:

(1) Each of the two alternating drainfields in the system shall have, at a minimum, an area not less than 50% of the area that would otherwise be required if a single primary drainfield were constructed.

(2) An area equaling 50% of the area that would otherwise be required for the primary drainfield site must be reserved for subsurface absorption systems that utilize a flow diversion device, in order to provide for future replacement or repair to meet the requirements for a sewage disposal system. Expansion of the primary system will require an expansion of this reserve area.

(3) The two alternating drainfields shall be connected by a diversion valve, approved by the local health department, located in the pipe between the septic (aerobic) tank and the distribution boxes. The diversion valve shall be used to alternate the direction of effluent flow to one drainfield or the other at a time. However, diversion valves shall not be used for the following types of treatment systems:

(a) Sand mounds;

(b) Low-pressure distribution systems;

(c) Repair situations when installation of a valve is not feasible; and

(d) Any other approved system for which the use of a valve would adversely affect the design of the system, as determined by the local health department.

(4) The diversion valve shall be a three-port, two-way valve of approved materials (i.e., resistant to sewage and leakproof and designed so that the effluent from the tank can be directed to flow into either one of the two distribution boxes).

(5) There shall be a conduit from the top of the valve to the ground surface with an appropriate cover to be level with or above the ground surface.

(6) The valve shall not be located in driveways, recreational courts, parking lots, or beneath sheds or other structures.

(7) In lieu of the aforementioned diversion valve, any device that can be designed and constructed to conveniently direct the flow of effluent from the tank into either one of the two distribution boxes may be approved if plans are submitted to the local health department and found to be satisfactory.

(8) The local government shall require that the owner(s) alternate the drainfields every 12 months to permit the yearly resting of half of the absorption system.

(9) The local government shall ensure that the owner(s) are notified annually of the requirement to switch the valve to the opposite drainfield.

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