Barger submits motion to investigate septic system letter

Supervisor Kathryn Barger

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors heard a motion Tuesday by Supervisor Kathryn Barger to correct an error in the Department of Public Health’s records that resulted in a letter being sent out about septic systems that caused widespread concern and confusion among residents.

The motion, which is scheduled to be voted on next week, was introduced after the county had adopted a Local Agency Management Plan Ordinance in October 2018 that affected more than 47,000 septic systems and an additional 900 nonconventional onsite wastewater treatment systems, a majority of which are in Barger’s 5th District. 

However, a problem arose for the county and residents when errors in the DPH’s list resulted in 49,000 letters being sent out, and a “significant number” of those were sent to people who do not have a septic system, and for whom these changes do not apply, the motion said.

“This has caused widespread concern and confusion among residents, as it was requested that they provide proof of sewage connection, which imposed a significant burden to our residents,” the motion said.

The motion, if passed next week, would order DPH to send a clarifying letter to residents who incorrectly received a letter, send a subsequent notice to residents actually affected by the changes and ask that all pertinent departments update their records. 

Had the county not passed the ordinance to comply with recently adopted changes to the state’s onsite wastewater treatment systems policy, officials said the state would have assumed oversight, which would have resulted in state fees of $1,044 per year for residential systems, and $2,088 per year for commercial systems.

The new ordinance increase puts county fees at $43 per year for nonconventional systems, and $5 per year for conventional systems.

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