Florida Senate - 2019 SB 214 By Senator Gruters 23-00547-19 2019214__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to onsite sewage treatment and 3 disposal systems; amending s. 381.0065, F.S.; 4 directing the Department of Health to identify certain 5 information for onsite sewage treatment and disposal 6 systems, update the current database of such systems, 7 and submit a report to the Governor and Legislature by 8 a specified date; requiring owners of onsite sewage 9 treatment and disposal systems to have such systems 10 periodically inspected; providing an exception; 11 directing the department to administer an onsite 12 sewage treatment and disposal system inspection 13 program; requiring the department to adopt specified 14 rules and implement program standards, procedures, and 15 requirements; providing inspection requirements; 16 providing that pump-outs are not required under 17 certain circumstances; requiring system owners to pay 18 the costs of required inspections and pump-outs; 19 requiring that inspections and pump-outs be performed 20 by registered septic tank or master septic tank 21 contractors; providing notice requirements; defining 22 the terms “failure” or “failing” and “repair”; 23 creating s. 689.30, F.S.; requiring an onsite sewage 24 treatment and disposal system disclosure summary for 25 certain properties before or at the execution of a 26 contract for sale; requiring that prospective 27 purchasers acknowledge in writing receipt of such 28 summary disclosures; defining the term “onsite sewage 29 treatment and disposal system”; providing an effective 30 date. 31 32 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 33 34 Section 1. Subsections (5) and (6) of section 381.0065, 35 Florida Statutes, are renumbered as subsections (6) and (7), 36 respectively, paragraph (o) is added to subsection (3) of that 37 section, and a new subsection (5) is added to that section, to 38 read: 39 381.0065 Onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems; 40 regulation.— 41 (3) DUTIES AND POWERS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH.—The 42 department shall: 43 (o) By January 1, 2021, do all of the following: 44 1. Identify all onsite sewage treatment and disposal 45 systems in the state, including, at a minimum, the location and 46 operational condition of the systems and any other available 47 information the department deems appropriate. The department may 48 use only existing information available from a state, local, or 49 commercial data source to identify onsite sewage treatment and 50 disposal systems and the operational condition of such systems 51 pursuant to this subparagraph. The department may not visit or 52 inspect a property to obtain information regarding an onsite 53 sewage treatment and disposal system or the operational 54 condition of such system pursuant to this subparagraph. 55 2. Incorporate the information identified under 56 subparagraph 1. into and update the current database of onsite 57 sewage treatment and disposal systems. 58 3. Generate a report from the database which includes, at a 59 minimum, the total number of onsite sewage treatment and 60 disposal systems in the state, the number of onsite sewage 61 treatment and disposal systems in each county, and a statewide 62 map of the systems, and submit the report to the Governor, the 63 President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of 64 Representatives. 65 (5) PERIODIC INSPECTIONS.— 66 (a) Effective July 1, 2022, the owner of an onsite sewage 67 treatment and disposal system, excluding a system that is 68 required to have an operating permit, must have the system 69 inspected at least once every 5 years to assess the fundamental 70 operational condition of the system, prolong the life of the 71 system, and identify any failure within the system. The 72 department shall administer an onsite sewage treatment and 73 disposal system inspection program for such periodic 74 inspections. The department shall implement the program 75 standards, procedures, and requirements, and adopt rules that 76 must include, but are not limited to: 77 1. A schedule for a 5-year inspection cycle; 78 2. A county-by-county implementation plan phased in over a 79 10-year period with first priority given to those areas within a 80 springshed protection area identified by the Department of 81 Environmental Protection; 82 3. Minimum standards for a functioning system; 83 4. Requirements for the pump-out or repair of a failing 84 system; and 85 5. Enforcement procedures for failure of a system owner to 86 obtain an inspection of the system and failure of a contractor 87 to timely report inspection results to the department and the 88 system owner. 89 (b) The department’s Procedure for Voluntary Inspection and 90 Assessment of Existing Systems shall be applied to inspections 91 under this subsection, except as otherwise provided. All 92 inspection procedures used by an inspector must be documented 93 and nothing in this subsection limits the amount of detail an 94 inspector may provide at his or her professional discretion. The 95 inspection must include: 96 1. A tank inspection; 97 2. A drainfield inspection; 98 3. A written assessment of the condition of the system; and 99 4. If necessary, a disclosure statement pursuant to the 100 department’s procedure. 101 (c) A pump-out of the system is not required, if 102 documentation of a tank pump-out or a permitted new 103 installation, repair, or modification of the system within the 104 previous 3 years is provided, which states the capacity of the 105 tank and indicates that the condition of the tank is not a 106 sanitary or public health nuisance pursuant to department rule. 107 (d) Owners are responsible for paying the cost of the 108 inspection and any required pump-out pursuant to department rule 109 and may not request partial inspections or the omission of 110 portions of the inspection. 111 (e) Each inspection or pump-out required under this 112 subsection must be performed by a septic tank contractor or 113 master septic tank contractor registered under part III of 114 chapter 489. 115 (f) Before any inspection deadline, the department must 116 provide a minimum of 60 days’ notice to owners that their 117 systems must be inspected by that deadline. The notice must 118 include a provision stating that the purpose of the inspection 119 is to assess the fundamental operational condition of the 120 system, prolong the life of the system, and identify any failure 121 within the system, and not to determine code compliance, require 122 a complete upgrade or overhaul of a system to meet current code 123 requirements, or demonstrate that the system will adequately 124 serve the use to be placed upon it by the current or any 125 subsequent owner. The department must include a copy of the 126 Procedure for Voluntary Inspection and Assessment of Existing 127 Systems with the notice. 128 (g) As used in this subsection, the term: 129 1. “Failure” or “failing” means a condition that exists 130 within an onsite sewage treatment and disposal system that 131 prohibits the system from functioning in a sanitary manner and 132 results in the discharge of untreated or partially treated 133 wastewater onto the surface of the ground or into surface waters 134 or groundwaters or results in the failure of building plumbing 135 to discharge properly. For the purposes of this subsection, a 136 system may not be deemed in failure solely because the system 137 does not have the minimum separation distance between the 138 drainfield and groundwater table. 139 2. “Repair” means any replacement of or modification or 140 addition to a failing system which is necessary to allow the 141 system to function in accordance with its design or is necessary 142 to eliminate a public health or pollution hazard, including the 143 use of any treatment method that is intended to improve the 144 functioning of any part of the system or to prolong or sustain 145 the length of time the system functions, excluding: 146 a. The service or replacement of mechanical or electrical 147 parts of an approved onsite sewage treatment and disposal system 148 with like kind and quality parts. 149 b. Any minor structural corrections to a tank or 150 distribution box. 151 c. The use of an authorized additive in indoor building 152 plumbing by the system owner. 153 d. The removal of the contents of any tank or the 154 installation of an approved outlet filter device without 155 disturbing the drainfield. 156 e. The replacement of any broken tank lid. 157 f. The splicing of a drip emitter line, provided the 158 emitter is not eliminated. 159 Section 2. Section 689.30, Florida Statutes, is created to 160 read: 161 689.30 Sale of property; disclosure of onsite sewage and 162 treatment disposal system.— 163 (1) A seller of property shall provide a prospective 164 purchaser with a disclosure summary before or at the execution 165 of the contract for sale if the property contains or will 166 contain an onsite sewage treatment and disposal system. The 167 prospective purchaser shall acknowledge in writing the receipt 168 of the disclosure summary required by this section. The 169 disclosure summary must be conspicuous, in boldface type, and in 170 a form substantially similar to the following: 171 172 ONSITE SEWAGE TREATMENT AND DISPOSAL SYSTEM 173 DISCLOSURE SUMMARY 174 175 THIS PROPERTY CONTAINS AN ONSITE SEWAGE TREATMENT AND DISPOSAL 176 SYSTEM (SYSTEM). PROPERLY MAINTAINED AND UTILIZED SYSTEMS HAVE A 177 LIFESPAN OF SPPROXIMATELY 25 YEARS. SYSTEMS THAT ARE NOT 178 PROPERLY DESIGNED, CONSTRUCTED, AND MAINTAINED CAN LEAD TO THE 179 RELEASE OF HARMFUL NUTRIENTS IN GROUNDWATER. SYSTEMS SHOULD BE 180 REGULARLY INSPECTED TO PREVENT SYSTEM FAILURE AND YOU ARE 181 ENCOURAGED TO HAVE THIS SYSTEM INSPECTED. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION 182 MAY BE OBTAINED BY CONTACTING THE COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT. 183 (PURCHASER'S INITIALS) 184 (2) As used in this section, the term “onsite sewage 185 treatment and disposal system” has the same meaning as in s. 186 381.0065. 187 Section 3. This act shall take effect October 1, 2019.