2003 Regular Session
To: Environment Prot, Cons and Water Res
By: Senator(s) Ross
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 41-67-7, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE THE CRITERIA FOR DETERMINING THE USE OF INDIVIDUAL ON-SITE WASTEWATER DISPOSAL SYSTEMS OR SEWERS; TO AUTHORIZE THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH TO MAKE SUCH DETERMINATION; TO AMEND SECTION 41-67-31, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO EXTEND THE REPEALER ON THE INDIVIDUAL ON-SITE WASTEWATER DISPOSAL SYSTEM LAW; TO CREATE A TASK FORCE TO STUDY AND RECOMMEND REVISIONS OF THE INDIVIDUAL-ON-SITE WASTEWATER DISPOSAL SYSTEM LAW; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 41-67-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
41-67-7. Individual on-site wastewater disposal systems shall be considered acceptable on lots in areas or subdivisions where prior to the sale of the lots, the following requirements are met:
(1) Individual on-site wastewater disposal systems with underground absorption fields shall be considered acceptable, provided the following requirements are met:
(a) Sewers are not available or feasible;
(b) The existing disposal systems in the area are functioning satisfactorily;
(c) Soil types, soil texture, seasonal water tables and other limiting factors are satisfactory for underground absorption; and
(d) Any private water supply is located at a higher elevation and at least fifty (50) feet from the individual on-site wastewater disposal system and at least one hundred (100) feet from the disposal field of the system.
(2) Except for systems utilizing underground absorption, alternative individual on-site wastewater disposal systems shall be considered acceptable, provided the following requirements are met:
(a) Sewers are not available or feasible;
(b) The systems meet applicable water quality requirements of the federal Clean Water Act and also requirements of the board and department; and
(c) Any discharge is confined within the boundaries of the property of the generator except as authorized under Section 41-67-8.
(3) In determining availability or feasibility of sewers under this section, the department shall consider whether the sewer has the capacity to accept and treat the waste that would be generated by the individual on-site wastewater disposal systems and whether the sewer system will agree to accept that waste at a cost similar to the cost charged to users of the same sewer system.
(4) In determining the availability or feasibility of a sewer under this section, the sewers shall not be deemed available or feasible unless the cost of connecting to a sewer is no more than the cost of installing individual on-site wastewater disposal systems.
(5) Whenever a person requests approval of an individual on-site wastewater disposal system, the department must approve or disapprove the request within thirty (30) days. If the department disapproves the request, the department shall state in writing the reasons for the disapproval. If the department does not respond within thirty (30) days, the request for approval of the individual on-site wastewater disposal system shall be deemed approved.
SECTION 2. Section 41-67-4, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
41-67-4. (1) The Commission on Environmental Quality shall determine the feasibility of establishing community sewerage systems upon the submission by the developer of a preliminary design and feasibility study prepared by a professional engineer. The developer may request and obtain a hearing before the commission if the developer is dissatisfied with the commission's determination of feasibility. The determination that a sewerage system must be established shall be made without regard to whether the establishment of a sewerage system is authorized by law or is subject to approval by one or more state or local government or public bodies. Whenever a developer requests a determination of feasibility, the commission must make such determination within forty-five (45) days. The department shall state in writing the reasons for its determination. If the department does not make a determination within forty-five (45) days, all sites within the subdivision shall be approved, if a certifiedinstaller attests that each site can be adequately served by an individual on-site wastewater disposal system.
(2) Where residential subdivisions are proposed which are composed of fewer than thirty-five (35) building sites, and no system of sanitary sewers is available to which collection sewers may be feasibly connected, the board may waive the requirement for a feasibility study. If the feasibility study is waived, all sites within the subdivision shall be approved, if a certified installer attests that each site can be adequately served by an individual on-site wastewater disposal system.
(3) No feasibility study or community sewerage system shall be required for subdivisions designed, laid out, platted or partially constructed before July 1, 1988, or for any subdivision that was platted and recorded during the period from July 1, 1995 through June 30, 1996.
SECTION 3. Section 41-67-31, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
41-67-31. Sections 41-67-1 through 41-67-29 shall stand repealed on July 1, 2005.
SECTION 4. (1) There is established a task force to study and review the statutory provisions governing individual on site waste water disposal systems and to make recommendations for revisions that will ensure that the state has coherent and comprehensive law regulating individual on-site wastewater disposal systems. The task force shall examine all aspects of the law and health and environmental concerns and make recommendations to the Legislature on or before September 1, 2004.
(2) The task force shall be composed of two (2) members appointed by the Lieutenant Governor, two (2) members appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the heads of the following agencies and associations or their designees: State Health Department; Department of Environmental Quality; Mississippi Development Authority; Department of Marine Resources, Mississippi Association of Supervisors; Mississippi Municipal League; Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation; Sierra Club, State Medical Association; Consulting Engineers Council of Mississippi; Gulf of Mexico Program; Home Builders Association of Mississippi, one (1) builder representative and one (1) developer representative; Mississippi Engineering Society; Mississippi Manufacture Housing Association; Mississippi On-Site Water Association, one (1) septic tank manufactures, one (1) installer, and one (1) ATU manufacturer; Mississippi State University Agriculture and Biological Engineering; Mississippi Rural Water Association, Mississippi Water and Pollution Control Operator Association, the Executive Director of the Public Utilities Staff, or his designee, and the National Recourses Conservation Service.
(3) Appointments shall be made before June 1, 2003. The head of the State Department of Health shall convene the task force before July 1, 2003. The task force shall meet and organize by selecting from its membership a chairman and vice chairman. The vice chairman shall serve as secretary and shall be responsible for keeping all records of the task force. A majority of the members of the task force shall constitute a quorum. In the selection of its officers and the adoption of rules, resolution and reports, and affirmative vote of a majority of the task force is required. All members shall be notified in writing of all meetings, and such notices must be mailed at least five (5) days before the date on which a meeting is to be held.
(4) Subject to the availability of funds, for attending meetings of the task force, members who are not legislators may be reimbursed in accordance with Section 25-3-41, Mississippi Code of 1972, for mileage and actual expenses incurred in attending meetings of the committee. If members of the Legislature are appointed to serve as members of the task force, such legislative members shall be paid from the contingent expense fund of their respective house per diem in the same manner as provided for committee meetings when the Legislature is not in session. However, no per diem, mileage allowance or expense allowance may be paid for attending meetings of the committee while the Legislature is in session, and no per diem, mileage allowance or expense allowance may be paid without prior approval of the proper committee in the member's respective house. No task force member may incur travel or other expenses unless previously authorized by vote at a meeting of the task force, which action must be recorded in the official minutes of the meeting. Nonlegislative members may be paid from any funds made available to the task force for that purpose.
(5) To effectuate the purpose of this section, any department, division, board, bureau, commission or agency of the state or of any political subdivision thereof shall, at the request of the chairman of the task force, provide to the task force such facilities, assistance and data as will enable the special committee to carry out its duties.
(6) Funding for the task force may be provided from any funds that may be appropriated by the Legislature for the expenses of the task force. The task force may accept money from any source, public or private, to be expended in implementing its duties under this act.
(7) Upon presentation of its report to the Legislature, the task force shall be dissolved.
SECTION 5. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.