Florida House passes bill repealing septic tank inspection requirement

Feb 29, 2012

The following article was published in The Florida Current on February 29, 2012:

Florida House passes bill repealing septic tank inspection requirement

By Bruce Ritchie 

The Florida House on Wednesday approved a bill that would repeal a statewide septic tanks inspection requirement.

The Legislature in 2010 passed a  requirement for statewide septic tank inspections, but the measure prompted a backlash from rural residents who viewed it as a government intrusion. The House passed a repeal bill in 2011 but the Senate did not take up the measure.

This year, HB 999 by Rep. Chris Dorworth, R-Lake Mary, attempted to strike a compromise with the Senate by requiring inspections in 19 counties with the largest first-magnitude springs, which each discharge more than 64 million gallons per day.

The bill establishes restrictions on local inspection programs, and it allows those counties with first-magnitude springs to opt out of the inspections. That drew opposition from some Democrats on the House floor. Sierra Club Florida also remains opposed to the bill.

“When it comes to first-magnitude springs I don’t think we ought to be looking at the opportunity to opt out,” said Rep. Rick Kriseman, D-St. Petersburg. “I think we ought to be doing everything we can to protect those springs.”

But supporters said Dorworth had worked on a complicated issue to address the concerns of a variety of interests. Bill supporters included the Florida Home Builders Association, Florida Realtors, Associated Industries of Florida, the Florida Onsite Wastewater Association and Audubon of Florida.

“Today I think everyone wins,” said Rep. Marti Coley, R-Marianna. “Our citizens who told us, ‘You, government, have overstepped your bounds,’ we heard them and stepped back.”

The bill passed 105-11 and now goes to the Senate. The Senate version of the bill, SB 820, is in its final committee stop.

Find this article here:  http://www.thefloridacurrent.com/article.cfm?id=26783993