Florida Senate - 2017                                    SB 1748
       By Senator Stewart
       13-00689B-17                                          20171748__
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to onsite sewage treatment and
    3         disposal system inspections; amending s. 381.0065,
    4         F.S.; requiring that onsite sewage treatment and
    5         disposal systems be inspected by specified
    6         professionals at the point of sale in real estate
    7         transactions; specifying system inspection
    8         requirements for sold properties that are within a
    9         specified distance of Florida waters; specifying
   10         repair requirements for such properties if the
   11         inspection indicates that repairs are needed;
   12         specifying penalties for certain violations of such
   13         requirements; requiring the Department of Health to
   14         adopt rules; amending s. 381.00651, F.S.; deleting
   15         provisions prohibiting specified ordinances from
   16         mandating onsite sewage treatment and disposal system
   17         evaluations and soil examinations at the point of sale
   18         in real estate transactions; providing an effective
   19         date.
   21  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   23         Section 1. Paragraph (w) of subsection (4) of section
   24  381.0065, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
   25         381.0065 Onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems;
   26  regulation.—
   27         (4) PERMITS; INSTALLATION; AND CONDITIONS.—A person may not
   28  construct, repair, modify, abandon, or operate an onsite sewage
   29  treatment and disposal system without first obtaining a permit
   30  approved by the department. The department may issue permits to
   31  carry out this section, but shall not make the issuance of such
   32  permits contingent upon prior approval by the Department of
   33  Environmental Protection, except that the issuance of a permit
   34  for work seaward of the coastal construction control line
   35  established under s. 161.053 shall be contingent upon receipt of
   36  any required coastal construction control line permit from the
   37  Department of Environmental Protection. A construction permit is
   38  valid for 18 months from the issuance date and may be extended
   39  by the department for one 90-day period under rules adopted by
   40  the department. A repair permit is valid for 90 days from the
   41  date of issuance. An operating permit must be obtained prior to
   42  the use of any aerobic treatment unit or if the establishment
   43  generates commercial waste. Buildings or establishments that use
   44  an aerobic treatment unit or generate commercial waste shall be
   45  inspected by the department at least annually to assure
   46  compliance with the terms of the operating permit. The operating
   47  permit for a commercial wastewater system is valid for 1 year
   48  from the date of issuance and must be renewed annually. The
   49  operating permit for an aerobic treatment unit is valid for 2
   50  years from the date of issuance and must be renewed every 2
   51  years. If all information pertaining to the siting, location,
   52  and installation conditions or repair of an onsite sewage
   53  treatment and disposal system remains the same, a construction
   54  or repair permit for the onsite sewage treatment and disposal
   55  system may be transferred to another person, if the transferee
   56  files, within 60 days after the transfer of ownership, an
   57  amended application providing all corrected information and
   58  proof of ownership of the property. There is no fee associated
   59  with the processing of this supplemental information. A person
   60  may not contract to construct, modify, alter, repair, service,
   61  abandon, or maintain any portion of an onsite sewage treatment
   62  and disposal system without being registered under part III of
   63  chapter 489. A property owner who personally performs
   64  construction, maintenance, or repairs to a system serving his or
   65  her own owner-occupied single-family residence is exempt from
   66  registration requirements for performing such construction,
   67  maintenance, or repairs on that residence, but is subject to all
   68  permitting requirements. A municipality or political subdivision
   69  of the state may not issue a building or plumbing permit for any
   70  building that requires the use of an onsite sewage treatment and
   71  disposal system unless the owner or builder has received a
   72  construction permit for such system from the department. A
   73  building or structure may not be occupied and a municipality,
   74  political subdivision, or any state or federal agency may not
   75  authorize occupancy until the department approves the final
   76  installation of the onsite sewage treatment and disposal system.
   77  A municipality or political subdivision of the state may not
   78  approve any change in occupancy or tenancy of a building that
   79  uses an onsite sewage treatment and disposal system until the
   80  department has reviewed the use of the system with the proposed
   81  change, approved the change, and amended the operating permit.
   82         (w)1. Any permit issued and approved by the department for
   83  the installation, modification, or repair of an onsite sewage
   84  treatment and disposal system transfers shall transfer with the
   85  title to the property in a real estate transaction. A title may
   86  not be encumbered at the time of transfer by new permit
   87  requirements by a governmental entity for an onsite sewage
   88  treatment and disposal system which differ from the permitting
   89  requirements in effect at the time the system was permitted,
   90  modified, or repaired. An inspection of a system must be
   91  performed by a septic tank contractor or master septic tank
   92  contractor registered under part III of chapter 489, a
   93  professional engineer who has wastewater treatment system
   94  experience and is licensed under chapter 471, or an
   95  environmental health professional certified under this chapter
   96  in the area of onsite sewage treatment and disposal system
   97  evaluation; however, a governmental entity may not require an
   98  inspection under this subparagraph may not be mandated by a
   99  governmental entity at the point of sale in a real estate
  100  transaction, except as specified in subparagraph 2. This
  101  paragraph does not affect a septic tank phase-out deferral
  102  program implemented by a consolidated government as defined in
  103  s. 9, Art. VIII of the State Constitution (1885).
  104         2.In addition to the onsite sewage treatment and disposal
  105  system inspection requirements relating to real estate
  106  transactions specified in subparagraph 1. for properties within
  107  1,000 feet of Florida waters, the following additional
  108  requirements apply:
  109         a.An inspection of any onsite sewage treatment and
  110  disposal system must be completed before any real estate
  111  transaction involving a sale of a property. Such inspections are
  112  valid for 1 year after the date of completion of such
  113  inspection.
  114         b.All inspections must include fully emptying the onsite
  115  sewage treatment and disposal system and cleaning the walls of
  116  the system in order to conduct a full inspection of its
  117  surfaces.
  118         c.If the inspection indicates that repairs are needed to
  119  the onsite sewage treatment and disposal system, the inspector
  120  shall notify the department of such need. Upon closing of a real
  121  estate transaction involving a property needing such repairs,
  122  the seller shall notify the department of the sale. The new
  123  property owner has 6 months after the date of sale to make such
  124  repairs. The department may, upon request of the new property
  125  owner, grant a reasonable extension of time for such repairs for
  126  ongoing construction or renovations occurring on the property.
  127         d.If the selling property owner obtains more than one
  128  inspection within 1 year before the closing of a real estate
  129  transaction, the department shall determine, based on a review
  130  of all inspections submitted during this period, the repairs to
  131  the system required to be made by the new property owner and
  132  provide notice of its determination to the new property owner.
  133  The new property owner has 6 months from the date of receipt of
  134  such notice to make the repairs.
  135         e.After the expiration of time prescribed for repairs in
  136  sub-subparagraph c., the department shall inspect the system to
  137  ensure that the repairs were completed properly.
  138         f.If the department finds that the system was not repaired
  139  to sufficiently remedy the system deficiencies noted in the
  140  initial inspection, the department shall notify the property
  141  owner of such deficiency within 15 days. The property owner has
  142  45 days after the receipt of the notice to remedy the
  143  deficiency. If, upon reinspection, the department finds that a
  144  property owner still has failed to remedy such deficiency, the
  145  property owner is subject to an administrative penalty of up to
  146  $500 and an ongoing penalty of $10 per day until the property
  147  owner reasonably demonstrates, to the satisfaction of the
  148  department, that repair work to remedy the deficiency has been
  149  initiated and will be properly and timely completed.
  150         g.The department shall adopt rules to implement this
  151  subparagraph, including adopting a standard for when repairs are
  152  required pursuant to this subparagraph based on the overall
  153  provisions of this section.
  154         Section 2. Paragraph (a) of subsection (6) of section
  155  381.00651, Florida Statutes, is reenacted to read:
  156         381.00651 Periodic evaluation and assessment of onsite
  157  sewage treatment and disposal systems.—
  158         (6) The requirements for an onsite sewage treatment and
  159  disposal system evaluation and assessment program are as
  160  follows:
  161         (a) Evaluations.—An evaluation of each onsite sewage
  162  treatment and disposal system within all or part of the county’s
  163  or municipality’s jurisdiction must take place once every 5
  164  years to assess the fundamental operational condition of the
  165  system and to identify system failures. The ordinance may not
  166  mandate an evaluation at the point of sale in a real estate
  167  transaction and may not require a soil examination. The location
  168  of the system shall be identified. A tank and drainfield
  169  evaluation and a written assessment of the overall condition of
  170  the system pursuant to the assessment procedure prescribed in
  171  subsection (7) are required.
  172         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2017.