Opinion

Sound Off: New county septic rules costly

Just because the state mandates something it doesn’t automatically mean that it is necessary, right, or reasonable. It is more likely to be designed to grow the bureaucracy, raise taxes, and institute greater control over “us.” Achieving such questionable goals requires convincing the public of needs and benefits that don’t exist. The public, of course, must be apathetic and/or afflicted by fuzzy thinking, wearing blinders, and resistant to facts. We need to keep in mind that the government works for us, not we for them.

The “on-site sewer” operations and maintenance plan is such an issue:

We are to be subjected to regular septic inspections at our expense or face the penalties.

The bureaucracy (Island County Health Department) will grow and send us the bill. Note: Experience has shown that any activity performed by government or subject to government control costs five times what it would otherwise. For starters, $320,000 has been thrown out. Count on this growing to several million including your outlays for professional inspectors and repairs. Repairs you would have made yourself. After all, this is your responsibility, your system, that you bought and paid for, and you’re the one who must smell it if it fails. Probably 99 percent of us maintain our systems properly and never have a problem. Why should we be forced to pay through the nose for the 1 percent who don’t?

Other facts of interest are: The state mandate only applies to maritime counties. Only those systems along the shore and associated waterways have any impact on Puget Sound. Those removed by more than 200 feet have no impact. Thus the mandate is discriminatory and possibly unconstitutional. There are lots of assumptions but there is no hard scientific evidence that significant pollution of Puget Sound or “critical areas” has resulted from failed septic systems.

There are legal issues that will arise around this plan, ranging from discrimination suits, suits of inspectors and the county for alleged improper decisions, and the county for too much or too little regulation. In short, the plan is intrusive and unnecessary.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Sherwood Minckler

lives in Oak Harbor

Community Events, April 2014

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