Septic Issue Explained

OBX Realtors Conversation on New Septic RulesFrom what I have been told, there were many meetings amongst lots of organizations, Homebuilders Association and NC Realtors are included in the reshaping of the wastewater regulations. Negotiations were settled, the meeting concluded, and everyone went home. The night before the vote, the bill is sent out. Unbeknownst to all signings, changes were made in favor of the Septic Tank Association’s lobbyists, resulting in the incoming “shituation” we have now. This DID come from the private sector and the only way out of it is legislatively.


Our local Realtor Association had a meeting on January 30th with the Dare Supervisor for Environmental Health, Josh Coltrain. A video of that meeting can be seen here. It is 36 minutes long, but well worth your time to watch.

If you don’t have time to watch, here’s the basic breakdown and major takeaways:

  • The regulations are retroactive. Doesn’t matter when your home was built, this now
    applies to EVERYONE.
  • Any LOT platted BEFORE January 1, 1983, with a septic for 4 bedrooms or less can still qualify for a conventional gravity system.
  •  Any LOT platted BEFORE January 1, 1983, with a septic for 5 bedrooms or more is mandated to show a designated repair area and is affected.
  • Any LOT platted AFTER January 1, 1983, regardless of number of bedrooms is mandated to show a designated repair area, and is affected.

So basically, if you are on a LOT with a designated repair area, these regulations apply to you. If your system fails for ANY reason:

  • The local Environmental Health Soil specialist is no longer allowed to use the best professional judgment.
  •  You now MUST use the designated repair area. No matter if it’s covered by live oaks, uphill, downhill, at the back of the lot. Doesn’t matter, it’s the new spot.
  •  You now MUST move to an engineered system. This is a cost factor of TEN TIMES more in most cases than a conventional gravity system.

With 90% of LOTS in Dare County having an onsite wastewater system, this impacts an enormous group of homes. This is simply not sustainable.

The meeting that Josh Coltrain was to attend in Raleigh this week was postponed. I don’t have the new meeting date at this time. What I do have is an email you can send questions to for
Josh to take to this eventual meeting to ask. That email is [email protected]. Feel free to send any real life scenarios you may have encountered, burdens these regulations have already
caused or just questions you want answers to from our legislators.

In the meantime, the NC Senator for District 1 (Dare) is Norman Sanderson and his information can be found here
Bobby Hanig, NC Senator for District 3 (Currituck) can be found here

I’ve already been in touch with both and have had great response from Sen Hanig’s office. NC Realtors has legislative committee members hard after this issue as well. This is a statewide
issue so if you have any connection to any NC State legislator, let them know this must change!

If you want to find out how this specifically impacts your home personally, call the Dare Environmental Health Department at 252-475-5080. Or Currituck at 252-232-6603.

I’ll keep you informed as I have more updates.