This white paper discusses the problem of septic failures in Virginia, as infrastructure ages and previously installed systems can no longer function. Section II.A. discusses the feasibility of regulatory and other measures that the Virginia state and local governments can implement to incentivize the identification, maintenance and repair of septic systems. Among these measures is a point-of-sale inspection requirement, which would require real property sellers to have their septic system inspected upon sale. Additionally, this white paper addresses several alternative options to conventional onsite septic systems, including public information campaigns to inform septic system owners of maintenance and repair techniques; and programs incentivizing the creation and use of innovative septic systems as alternatives to conventional systems. Section II.C examines eligibility for aid based on different federal metrics of hardship and discusses options to increase the number of people eligible for aid. The Virginia General Assembly has created grant and loan programs to address the growing septic problem, and the Virginia Department of Health has received federal funding to assist with septic and private well repairs as well. This white paper also discusses the potential environmental justice and equitable concerns raised by the implementation of various programs and proposes some septic options. Adopting any or a combination of these options could improve the longevity and resiliency of septic systems as well as homeowner awareness of emerging issues.

This abstract has been taken from the authors' introduction.

Document Type

Water Quality, Water Quantity, and Marine Debris

Publication Date

Winter 2022