Saturday, August 25, 2007
By Jeremy Morrison
To better ensure Deer Point Reservoir is not contaminated by septic tanks, Bay County is looking to change a 2004 development regulation.
“It’s just a modification to the existing rule,” said Jamie Jones, public utilities director for the county.
The proposed change would require septic tanks and drain fields to be 3 feet away from the high-water table if the site is 10 feet in elevation or lower. Property owners installing septic tanks must have surveys that were conducted within the past three years to verify a site’s elevation.
Under current regulations, septic tanks and drain fields must be 36 inches above the seasonal high water table if they are located within the 10-foot contour line designated on a county Geographical Information System map. But that contour line might not be the best guidepost, prompting the call for changes.
“It comes and goes in a manner that makes no sense,” said Elliot Kamper, principal planner with Bay County.
In a letter to Bay commissioners, Planning and Zoning Division Manager Martin Jacobson refers to the contour line as “unreliable.”
“In at least two areas, the 10-foot contour is actually shown in the reservoir itself,” he wrote.
Because locating a drain field above the high water table is the goal of the regulation, the new language would place less emphasis on the contour and focus more on elevation.
“This is meant to clarify that it’s the elevation that’s important, not some line on a GIS map,” Kamper said.
The first public hearing on the proposed change was Tuesday during the County Commission meeting. The board will hold a second hearing Sept. 4 at 9 a.m. at Panama City City Hall before making a final decision.
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