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TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING ARTICLE 14 TO CHAPTER 55, TITLE 44 SO AS TO ESTABLISH PROVISIONS REGULATING THE INSTALLATION AND USE OF PASSIVE SOIL-BASED ON-SITE DISPOSAL SYSTEMS USED TO COLLECT, TREAT, DISCHARGE, OR RECLAIM WASTEWATER OR SEWAGE FROM DWELLING UNITS WITHOUT THE USE OF COMMUNITY-WIDE SEWERS OR A CENTRALIZED TREATMENT FACILITY; TO REQUIRE MANUFACTURERS TO PROVIDE A WARRANTY TO EACH PROPERTY OWNER AND TO PROVIDE FINANCIAL ASSURANCE AND SYSTEM DESIGN AND INSTALLATION DOCUMENTATION TO THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL; TO REQUIRE SYSTEM INSTALLATION BY CERTIFIED INSTALLERS AND TO PROVIDE INSTALLATION STANDARDS AND PROCEDURES; AND TO PROVIDE PENALTIES; AND TO PROVIDE THAT WHEN REGULATIONS PROMULGATED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL RELATING TO INSTALLATION STANDARDS AND FINANCIAL ASSURANCES ARE APPROVED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, SECTIONS 44-55-1320 AND 44-55-1330, RELATING TO THESE MATTERS ARE REPEALED.
Whereas, the General Assembly of South Carolina recognizes that the citizens of South Carolina would benefit from environmentally safe and economical alternatives to traditional methods of sewage and wastewater disposal. By enacting this article, the General Assembly intends to establish law regarding the installation and use of passive soil-based on-site disposal systems, which shall provide the citizens of South Carolina with safe and healthy alternatives to traditional gravel-based sewage disposal systems. Now, therefore,
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Chapter 55, Title 44 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
Section 44-55-1310. As used in this article:
(1) 'Passive soil-based on-site disposal system' means a nongravel, gravity-based, nonmechanical, soil absorption trench used to collect, treat, and discharge or reclaim wastewater or sewage from one or more dwelling units, without the use of community-wide sewers or a centralized treatment facility.
(2) 'Department means the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.
Section 44-55-1320. A passive soil-based on-site disposal system is authorized for use for collecting, treating, discharging, or reclaiming wastewater or sewage from one or more dwelling units if the system complies with the requirements of this chapter and with such ordinances as a county or municipality may establish consistent with this chapter.
Section 44-55-1330. A passive soil-based on-site disposal system installed in this State must comply with the following:
(1) The passive soil-based on-site disposal system must have been manufactured by a manufacturer which has provided the following information to the department:
(a) written confirmation that the manufacturer will provide to each property owner and the department a written warranty on each new passive soil-based on-site disposal system installed. The warranty must extend for a minimum of five years from the date of installation and must apply to manufacturer's design defects and any system failure to comply with manufacturer's performance standards for systems installed, used, and maintained according to manufacturer's specifications. The warranty must cover the costs of labor, materials, and installation for repair or replacement of the system, including the cost of pumping the septic tank when necessary. The warranty must qualify as an express warranty as defined under South Carolina law. Notwithstanding any other provision of statutory or case law, the warranty must automatically transfer to each subsequent owner of the property during the warranty period. The warranty may include such other terms consistent with this chapter and other applicable law; however, the warranty may not disclaim the implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose;
(b) financial assurance information as set forth in Section 44-55-1340;
(c) a system design and installation manual; and
(d) a plan for the manufacturer's certification of installation technicians. The manufacturer shall maintain a continuously updated list of certified installation technicians and shall make that list available to the department through its web site or by other appropriate means.
Within sixty days of receipt of the information required to be provided pursuant to this item, the department shall certify to the manufacturer in writing that the manufacturer has complied with the requirements of this item or shall notify the manufacturer in writing as to any information which the manufacturer has failed to submit in compliance with this item. If additional information is necessary, the manufacturer shall have an additional sixty days, from the receipt of the notice, to submit the additional information. The department shall certify in writing that the manufacturer has complied with the requirements of this item within sixty days of receipt of the manufacturer's additional information.
(2) A passive soil-based on-site disposal system must be installed only by certified installation technicians whom the manufacturer has submitted to the department and who are licensed by the department under Regulation 61-56.1 as an installer. The manufacturer shall immediately notify the department when an installation technician's certification has expired or has otherwise been rescinded or revoked.
(3) A passive soil-based on-site disposal system must be sized and installed according to these minimum standards:
(a) The storage capacity of the system must be at least that available in a conventional gravel system below the invert as determined by a recognized third-party testing company.
(b) The total trench area of the system, measured as the area bounded by the outermost limits of the system's contact with the trench bottom and reported by a recognized third-party testing company, must be at least two-thirds of that required for a conventional gravel system. The system must not be less than three hundred square feet for soils in all classifications, and the system also must have a reserve area at least equal to fifty percent of the size of the installed system.
(c) The absorption area must comply with all other appropriate separation distances, trench location, trench depth, and contour orientation as prescribed in Regulation 61-56.
(d) The entire absorption area must be shown on the construction drawings, and the installer shall forward a copy of the completed construction drawings to the department within thirty days of the completed installation. The drawings must be legible and must indicate the 'as-built' length, location, and configuration of each trench in relation to the overall system and the site. The drawings must include information identifying the name of the installer, the name of the product manufacturer, and the type or model number of the installed product.
(e) Lateral trench runs must be as long as practical within the limits of the approved site so as to minimize the linear loading rate.
(4) Before installation, the property owner must be provided with a copy of the warranty described in item (1)(a), notification of the type of passive soil-based on-site disposal system to be installed on the property, the current telephone number of the passive soil-based on-site disposal system manufacturer, and notice that the manufacturer has complied with the financial assurance requirements set forth in Section 44-55-1340.
Section 44-55-1340. (A) The manufacturer of a passive soil-based on-site disposal system shall provide to the department evidence of financial assurance in the form of a bond, letter of credit, cash escrow or other assurance acceptable to the department in the initial amount of one hundred thousand dollars, which must be available for payment of unsatisfied final judgments for warranty claims by the property owner if the manufacturer refuses to pay a legitimate warranty claim or claims or is financially unable to honor the warranty required after a court of competent jurisdiction or arbitrator has rendered a final judgment or decision against the manufacturer. The manufacturer shall deliver to the department evidence of the annually revised financial assurance amount based on the following formula on or before December 31 of the year preceding the year for which the financial assurance is required. A failure rate of three percent and a repair cost of two thousand five hundred dollars must be assumed until data are available from systems installed in this State that indicate a different failure rate or repair cost should be used for a particular system. The manufacturer is responsible for collecting and reporting the data used to calculate the number of systems installed in this State each year. The amount of financial assurance must be increased from the initial amount of one hundred thousand dollars, as necessary, based on the following formula:
Where FA is the financial assurance amount in dollars;
N is the number of systems installed in this State over the previous five years;
F is the failure rate of the system by percentage; and
C is the average cost of repair.
(B) The department may require an amount of financial assurance in excess of the amount calculated pursuant to the formula in subsection (A) if the department documents excessive, unsatisfied warranty claims which make the amount of financial assurance as calculated inadequate. The department may rescind approval of any product which the department documents as having a failure rate greater than that of a conventional gravel trench. The department also may, in its discretion, waive or reduce the financial assurance requirements calculated pursuant to the formula in subsection (A) based upon the department's judgment of a manufacturer's past reliable performance.
Section 44-55-1350. The department shall promulgate regulations regarding alternative tile field products to include passive soil-based on-site disposal systems in accordance with the following:
(1) Regulations must conform to the requirements of Sections 44-55-1320 and 44-55-1330. When the department submits the proposed regulations to the General Assembly for approval in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act, in addition to the information which must be filed pursuant to Section 1-23-120, the department shall include an explanation for each change proposed from the requirements of Sections 44-55-1320 and 44-55-1330.
(2) When the regulations promulgated by the department are approved by the General Assembly and become effective by publication in the State Register, the provisions of Section 44-55-1320 and Section 44-55-1330 are repealed and no longer have the force and effect of law.
Section 44-55-1360. A violation of a provision of this chapter is punishable in accordance with Sections 44-1-150, 48-1-320, 48-1-330, and 48-1-340, as applicable."
SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor and applies to all passive soil-based on-site disposal systems installed on or after this act's effective date regardless of whether such systems previously had been approved pursuant to any law, regulation, demonstration protocol, policy, or other government directive.
This web page was last updated on Thursday, June 25, 2009 at 10:17 A.M.