Regulation of Alternative On-Site Septic Systems

Some of the greatest impediments to the real estate industry are land use policies and zoning ordinances. DAAR supports the rights of people to select and maintain an appropriate septic system on their private property.

DAAR Recommendations

Continue to raise awareness about the 2012 AG opinion prohibiting localities from imposing AOSS requirements that exceed local authority.

Overview

When sewers or sewage disposal facilities are not available, Virginia law allows local governments to regulate and impose maintenance requirements on an AOSS that has been approved by the Virginia Department of Health. The law further states that a locality shall not prohibit the use of such system or impose maintenance standards and requirements that exceed those allowed under or established by the State Board of Health.

Background

Over the past several years, localities, including Fauquier and Loudoun, have considered additional oversight measures and requirements related to Alternative On-Site Septic Systems (AOSS) above and beyond what Virginia allows. During the 2009 General Assembly session, DAAR, in concert with the Virginia Association of Realtors®, worked to reverse the AOSS ban imposed by Loudoun County by supporting legislation to clarify that the Code of Virginia allows local governments to regulate and impose maintenance requirements on AOSS but does not give them authority to ban them. The approved legislation nullified the Loudoun County AOSS ban.

In September 2012, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors forwarded an item to the Transportation and Land Use Committee requesting information on additional oversight measures for AOSS. A reminder of the November 9, 2012 Attorney General opinion that a Virginia locality cannot adopt requirements and standards for AOSS that are in addition to or more stringent that those enacted by the Board of Health was included in the item’s staff report. The report also indicated that authority for an ordinance to prohibit AOSS where conventional systems may be found would have to be sought through an amendment to the state code 15.25-2157.

2020 Focus

Advocate against efforts to impose additional regulatory burden for owners of alternative on-site septic systems that exceed statutory authority enacted in Virginia.