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Thread: Community-shared septic systems for rural areas

  1. #1
    Cyburbian cch's avatar
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    Community-shared septic systems for rural areas

    Are any of you familiar with ordinances permitting shared septic systems for clustered rural housing? I'm looking into it as a way to preserve farmland and natural areas, get away from the 40,000 sq ft. minimum lot size required for each lot that has its own septic.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Plus Whose Yur Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by cch View post
    Are any of you familiar with ordinances permitting shared septic systems for clustered rural housing? I'm looking into it as a way to preserve farmland and natural areas, get away from the 40,000 sq ft. minimum lot size required for each lot that has its own septic.

    Thanks.
    Check with the State Board of Health. They will have the regulations/specs for them. From a P&Z stand point, you could allow them either in the zoning ordinance or the subdivision regs. You could insert a statement either place allowing for them.
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    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    40,000??? that seems a bit excessive! I may be a city boy, but I have a septic at my cabin, and that lot is only about half that.
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    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    40,000 is about right for on site services, figure a well and a septric, plus a spot for another septic.

    as for regulations here are a few that may be of interest.

    http://www.gnb.ca/0062/regs/80-159.htm -Section 6

    http://www.ene.gov.on.ca/envision/wa...ic_changes.htm as a starting point, you can follow the links

    Even though it is starting to get dated, check out rural by design as well as the buck county (PA) by-law
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

  5. #5
    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    40,000??? that seems a bit excessive! I may be a city boy, but I have a septic at my cabin, and that lot is only about half that.
    Actually, that's not that unusual. Here in the county I work for (in SE MI), we require a full acre for a 3 bedroom residence (exceptions are made for subdivision/site condos) and a quarter of an acre for each additional bedroom to accomodate a septic system. Is that overkill? Absolutely.

    But, I will say that we do have a huge problem with people converting what used to be summer lakeside cabins to permanent residences. In many cases, these lots are extremely small (30ft wide). Its always fun when the township/city will allow people to call the converting of a 2 bedroom cabin to a 5 bedroom mansion a "repair" instead of new construction No wonder the septic gets blown out of the ground within a year.
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  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    40,000 sf is normal, most areas I know use an acre which is 43,560 sf. I believe if you allow a cluster of homes to hook into one system it gets classified as a treatment plant and a whole bunch of new restrictions apply, including needing a certified operator to run the plant. (Speaking of Illinois of course)
    Edit: Here's the state code:
    Individual Service. The use of a private sewage system to serve more than one property is prohibited except where a common property is provided, under joint ownership of the users, or where the system is under public jurisdiction or managed by a district established for the maintenance of such systems.
    It does say it is allowed under "joint ownership of users" so maybe there is some wiggle room there.
    Last edited by noottamevas; 23 Mar 2007 at 7:35 AM.

  7. #7
    We allow community septic systems, typically in instances where the overall soils for a project are bad (clay) and one area has been identified as acceptable. There are flow limits which would determine whether a system would be classified as a wastewater treatment plant, in which case the state DEQ would have oversight and not the county health department.
    In the beginning there was nothing...then Chuck Norris Roundhouse kicked that nothing in the face and said "Get a job". That is the story of the universe.

  8. #8
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    We require 1.2 acres (52,000 sq. ft) minimum for a septic field on a country residential parcel. But we have a pretty high water table out here, so septic fields can be dicey anyways.

    I'm curious about the idea of a communal septic system though. I'd love to stick that responsibility with the developer, rather than living with the consequences of 24 landowners installing their own fields.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian KSharpe's avatar
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    We require shared septic sytems in our Urban Growth district and for cluster subs. For some reason, the health department hates it- not sure why.
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