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Earlier this year, the State of Ohio did something it hasn’t done in nearly 40 years: it enacted new rules governing septic tanks. Prior to 2015, Ohio operated with the nation’s oldest rules governing the installation, use and maintenance of septic tanks.

Septic tanks now require proof of regular maintenance

What do the new rules mean to you? If you have a septic tank that you take good care of, maybe not much. You’ll need to get a permit to operate your septic tank. These permits are available from the local health department and can be valid for as few as one year to as many as ten years. The length of the permit varies by county.

The cost of the permit may also vary. The key, however, is to prove that your septic system is part of a “regular maintenance plan.” Depending upon your county’s rules, this might be as simple as providing a receipt from a registered septic tank maintenance company that shows that your tank was pumped recently.

In 2016, the State of Ohio also will charge a separate fee of about $75 when you install new septic tanks, and a fee of about $35 when you modify existing septic tanks. There is no additional fee from the state for an operating permit, but your local health department may also charge fees upon installation of new septic tanks, or alteration of an existing one, in addition to a fee for an operating permit.

Contrary to popular belief, the new rules don’t require you to replace septic tanks. You may be required to install a new septic tank if raw sewage is visible on top of the septic field, the system is non-functional, or sewage is backed up into the home. If homeowners can address these circumstances without replacing their septic tanks, they can keep the existing system. If the absorption field has been degraded due to poor maintenance over time,they’ll be required to replace the system.

If you do need to replace your existing septic system, you can still choose a traditional septic system. There’s no need to upgrade to more expensive technology than what you currently use, but you may find a more modern system more to your liking or more appropriate for your circumstances. Also contrary to popular belief, you can still maintain a leach field under the new rules.

Most septic tanks are designed to last between 20 and 30 years. Regular maintenance can ensure that you get full value from your septic system. In addition to regular removal of sludge and solid waste, you may need to repair or replace parts of the system to keep it in good working order.

At Clear Drain Cleaning, we can help you take care of your septic system. We offer a number of septic services, including septic tank locating, line maintenance, leach line flushing, backflow diagnostics and drain cleaning. If you have a backflow problem with your septic tank, we can tell you whether it’s the line or the septic system. Give us a call at (330) 343-7146!