Introduced by Senator Ayer of Addison District and Senator Giard of Addison District
Subject: Conservation; wastewater disposal; clay soils; ledges
Statement of purpose: This bill proposes that if a professional engineer meets certain requirements, a wastewater disposal system installed by the engineer shall be presumed to keep effluent from resurfacing even if the soils in which the system is installed do not meet the soil standards for wastewater disposal systems set forth by rule. The presumption is created if the engineer is licensed, provides proof of insurance, certifies that installation occurred according to design, designs the system so that effluent plumes are at least six inches below the normal soil level and are located at the minimum setback from surface or drinking water sources, and installs monitoring wells. The owner of the system and any successor in title must monitor the function of the system, file a copy of the system permit in the land records, and contract with a professional engineer for annual inspection and necessary service. In addition, each licensed engineer of a nonprescriptive wastewater system shall carry adequate insurance to indemnify each landowner on whose property a wastewater system is constructed. Licensed designers who are not professional engineers shall only be allowed to design prescriptive wastewater systems and small‑scale water systems.
AN ACT RELATING TO ALLOWING AND FACILITATING THE USE OF WASTEWATER DISPOSAL SYSTEMS LOCATED IN CLAY SOILS NEAR LEDGES
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. 10 V.S.A. § 1973(j) is added to read:
(j) Notwithstanding the fact that the soils involved do not allow a system to be designed within the rules adopted under this chapter, a professional engineer shall be deemed in compliance with the requirements of this chapter and the rules adopted under this chapter and shall be entitled to a presumption that a wastewater disposal system will keep effluent from surfacing if the professional engineer prepares and submits to the secretary and records in the land records a stamped and signed design for a wastewater system that the professional engineer has certified will operate so as to keep effluent from surfacing. The presumption created under this subsection shall be available only in situations in which all of the following apply:
(1) The professional engineer is currently licensed by the state and is in good standing.
(2) The professional engineer provides proof of insurance coverage adequate to indemnify the engineer’s clients for negligent design or observation of the installation under this chapter.
(3) The professional engineer certifies that the engineer or the engineer’s agent has observed the installation of the wastewater system, and that installation occurred according to the design.
(4) Any nonprescriptive system shall be designed so that the calculated level of the effluent plume is at least six inches below the top of naturally occurring soil and will be located at a distance of at least the minimum setback from surface water or known drinking water supplies that is required in the rules established.
(5) Monitoring wells are installed to monitor effluent. A system is not failed unless wastewater effluent surfaces.
(6) The landowner and any successor in title are obligated to enter a contract with a professional engineer, independent from the designer, pursuant to which the independent professional engineer will monitor the functioning of the system and will be entitled to reasonable reimbursement by the current landowner for the costs of monitoring. A copy of the permit will be entered in the land records. A condition of the permit will clearly indicate that landowner obligations to contract with an independent professional engineer for monitoring shall run with the land. A memorandum of the current contract will be filed with the secretary and entered in the land records.
(7) The landowner will contract with a professional engineer for annual inspection and necessary servicing of any nonprescriptive wastewater system and annual notification to the secretary that inspection and servicing has taken place. Servicing shall take place more frequently than on an annual basis if required by the instructions from the manufacturer of the system. A copy of a current service contract and annual inspection reports shall be provided to the secretary.
Sec. 2. 10 V.S.A. § 1975(h) and (i) are added to read:
(h) Each licensed designer of a nonprescriptive wastewater system shall carry insurance coverage adequate to indemnify each landowner on whose property a wastewater system is to be constructed for negligent design or supervision of installation. The minimum coverage of liability shall be no less than $50,000.00 per claim.
(i) Licensed designers who are not professional engineers shall only be allowed to design prescriptive wastewater systems and small‑scale water systems as defined in the rules adopted under this chapter.
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street