Originally Posted by rybert
Septic systems are just fine.
What do you propose farmers do about their livestock, swine, and poultry?
I suppose a few thousand head of cattle using the John is out of the question?
If our water-table were oh... 20ft. then yeah, maybe let's deal with sewage differently, but @ +300ft... give me a break.
You're apparently not familiar with many parts of New Mexico where the water table is, in fact, 20ft. Here in San Juan County where over 60% of the state's surface water flows, the problem of old, outdated, and poorly designed septic systems is a problem. The same problem exists all the way from the Colorado border to the Texas border along the Rio Grande, Pecos, Gila and every little stream in the state. Suggesting that people just dig a hole in the ground and that it will work fine is suggesting that people ignore the future of the state. We've had enough of that already. Why not just install a proper system to begin with?
If you're at all familiar with feedlot operations these days you'll know that they are also required to have modern waste facilities.
"New Mexico environment secretary says leaky septic tanks pose serious environmental threat
U.S. Water News Online
-- Septic tanks are a big source of groundwater contamination in New Mexico, state Environment Secretary Ron Curry said.
Many regulations aimed at changing that and approved by the state in April will take effect next month.
The regulations revise wastewater treatment standards and provide a mechanism to bring unpermitted systems, which are estimated to be about half the 220,000 septic tanks in the state, into oversight.
During a public meeting on the issue here, Curry said the matter hadn't been tackled by the state in more than 20 years.
Don Becker of the San Juan County Homebuilders Association asked Curry for more time to review and learn about the regulations.
"This rule is coming into effect way too fast for the people of San Juan County," Becker said. "You don't see people dying here. You don't see waste in the river."
Curry, however, had numbers to back up groundwater problems in San Juan County.
He noted that the state has spent more than $450,000 for two projects designed to clean up the San Juan and Animas rivers.
The programs, he said, will correct septic system problems in Flora Vista and improve septic tank operations in Farmington and Bloomfield, construct wetlands to reduce sediment, nutrient and bacteria loading, remediate septic systems in rural areas and remediate non-septic system pollution sources.
"You don't have a lot of problems, but you have problems," Curry said.
Some of the problems with these systems include improper installation and seeping sewage.
"You don't want to have a situation where you're drinking your neighbor's liquid waste in your well water," Curry warned.
Tom Higley, a home builder, said he has spent the last 15 years trying to construct affordable homes, which are becoming scarce in San Juan County.
"You cannot build a home for less than $150,000," Higley said, adding that he believes the new septic tank codes will greatly increase the construction costs.
Rewriting the regulations began in March 2003. Since that time, there have been educational meetings held across the state.
The changes include requirements that all undeveloped lots be at least three-quarters of an acre for a septic tank and that advanced treatment units be required on small lots.
Beginning July 1, 2007, anyone installing a septic system must be certified. There will be a homeowner certification program for those wishing to install their own systems.
Traditional septic tanks -- buried tanks in which solids settle and from which liquids filter into a leach field -- are suitable to dispose of human waste in many rural areas where lot sizes are large enough for contaminants to be filtered and diluted.