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May 11, 2009 (Sacramento)--Gerry Giguere and his wife Kit live on a fixed income and don’t want to lose their home over a new septic regulation.

“This is big-government insanity,” said Gerry Giguere, whose home in rural east county requires a septic system and well.

California will soon impose a new fee of up to $650 for all septic tank owners. The fees would pay for mandatory inspections of all septic tanks and could force many to pay for costly upgrades, angering rural property owners who rely on septic systems.

The new regulations provide no assistance for fixed income or low income families dependent on septic systems. The Gigueres worry that they will not be able to afford essential living expenses.

“Just paying the inspection fee for my tank and well is going to cost $650. That’s not including the cost to drain the tank before inspection, and if they tell us to upgrade… it’s going to be thousands. We can’t afford that,” said Giguere.

The Gigueres and other septic owners in rural areas of San Diego County question the necessity of the mandatory inspections. “We’ve been drinking water from the well on our property for 23 years,” said Kit Giguere. “We’ve had it tested and it’s safe. I don’t see why I have to pay to prove that to some state agency.”

Assemblyman Joel Anderson (R-El Cajon) wasted no time co-authoring a solution to this costly and unnecessary law. Assembly Bill 268 would repeal the onerous regulation signed into law by Governor Gray Davis in 2000.

“This is a classic example of bloated government run amok with a suffocating regulatory scheme,” said Anderson. “With 11% unemployment, and families struggling to get by, the last thing anyone needs is another costly, redundant regulation from big state government.”

The San Diego County Environmental Health Department estimates that there are between 80,000 and 100,000 septic systems in the county.

Anderson also points out that local water boards already monitor ground water quality and regulate when necessary. “I served on a local water district. I can tell you that locally controlled agencies already protect water quality effectively,” he said.

The new septic tank regulations, which stem from a law passed in 2000, are expected to affect over a million California homes by July, 2010. The proposed regulations will require septic system inspections to be performed every five years. Other provisions may require many California homeowners and businesses with onsite wastewater disposal to entirely replace their septic tank systems, reports. The regulations, crafted by the California State Water Resoruces Control Board, are intended to protect surface and sub-surface waters from contamination. An environmental impact report estimates that 1.2 million California households will be affected, some at substantial cost to property owners, particularly those in rural areas far from septic tank service companies.(

According to Jim Hemminger, with the Regional Council of Rural Counties, the 2000 state law originated with a pollution situation in Santa Monica Bay, apparently caused by septic tanks located close to the beach. But the new regulations will cover the entire state, with little or no flexibility to account for the widely different geological and soil conditions to be found in California's 163,000+ square miles.

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