Mary Callahan, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Thousands of property owners in the Russian River watershed will soon be accountable for ensuring their septic systems operate properly through five-year inspections aimed at controlling bacterial contamination from human waste.
The new requirement is part of a controversial plan approved by water quality regulators this week. It was the fourth version of the plan to be considered, and it amends sweeping two-year-old regulations intended to keep human and animal waste out of local waterways.
The plan, approved unanimously by the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, affects thousands of property owners in designated priority areas along the main stem and certain tributaries.
Property owners with septic systems within 600 feet of the river or mapped streams or within 200 feet of ephemeral streams in those areas must now have their equipment inspected every five years and take corrective action, if warranted, within 15 years.